Miscellaneous Acronyms etc.

With a tip of the soldering iron to the Jargon File and Eric Raymond, the amazing Stan Kelly Bootle, whoever....

3D: Three-Dimensional. 1. Any feature in any even-vaguely computerized object that does anything; see Cloud.4. 2: Anything related to graphics gadgets that supposedly are like “3D” i.e., 2D screens with dumb features. 3. Images that somehow actually include depth-perception trickery so that human stereoscopic vision (i.e. involving two eyes) can perceive depth; for instance, the Stereoscopes of yore; or those awful flat-screen 3D TVs which never had any content; or that awful headachey 3D handheld game. ... Not Amazon’s “fire” phone, the 3Dness of which wasn’t even Amazon’s fault, but that of the pathologically suck-up scriveners so eager to produce stupidly-bogus puffery....

4K: The next super hi rez ridiculous video standard — oh wait, maybe it’s old now and we’re up to 5K....

4/3’’: An Olympus mirrorless camera system officially obsolete at 3/17. It was routinely referred to as “four-thirds” or “four-thirds inches” which’d be Olympus-speak for a sensor that is less than a half-an-inch wide. ... Olympus is a company notorious for its high standards and it’s possible that their mirrorless cameras are responsible for the persistence of the ridiculous DLSR....

ACM: Interestingly, ACM Queue magazine won’t admit what the letters stand for — but that’s not going to stop me: it’s the Association for Computing Machinery. ... I don’t know what they’re hiding; it’s not like the “A” stands for something filthy like “America”. ... I suppose it’s the “Machinery”; but I thought retro was good. ... Founded in 1947, for most of my life these folks would have nothing to do with slugs like myself, mere practitioners with no engineering degree, barely-frocked Computer Science toilers. ... But today, I have the satisfaction of being the honored recipient of many many offers of membership — for a price to be sure, still quite large and somewhat indeterminate — and, as an important leader in the software industry, free copies of the ACM Queue magazine. ... Which, I hasten to add, is quite an amusing magazine, especially since Stan Kelly-Bootle’s column became a regular. ... But sadly, no longer with us, having graduated to the great magazine subscription in the sky — i.e., the post-mortem on-line version....

ADA: The Americans with Disabilities Act, which brought light and beauty to the afflicted and costs nothing! ... And is so amazingly honored by caring organizations like homewood suites....

ADD: Attention Deficit Disorder, a quaint medical/social scam still active today. Originally introduced as an excuse for drugging young boys in American government schools as they got to a certain age and started terrorizing everybody, since the doctrines of Holy Liberalism forbid any kind of physical discipline — which, as everyone with half a wit knows, is the only way to stop some young boys from terrorizing people. ... Ah the golden days of childhood! I gather they gave me something — probably Ritalin, a popular terrorizing-boy suppressant — but apparently it just made me bounce off the walls even more. ... In general, the plan to suppress young boys’ antisocial behavior helps create conditions more perfectly resembling Huxley’s Brave New World, apparently a secret or not-so-secret goal of all the decent people in contemporary with-it society....

ADSR: Attack Decay Sustain Release, as might be generated by a synthesizer EG. These four were good-enough for us in the old days; we were so poor, sometimes we didn’t even get a Decay! ... There’s some gadget in the synthesizer that will produce a voltage with these four sections, which could be controlled individually, to emulate the sound of an instrument, a plucked string or something. The ADSR voltage’d go to a VCA which would control the volume of your beautiful music.

AFN: Ambiguous File Name — a name like BINGO* or B?N?O, that is with asterisks or question marks. ... Under various useful conditions, our hard-working operating systems will often provide files with any characters (asterisk) or any single character (question mark) in the specified position. ... Of course if you use a GUI this is all intolerable gobbledygook....

AGO: American Guild of Organists, of course....

AI: Artificial Intelligence of course, constructed out of neural nets which Scientists have completely doped-out from our comprehensive knowledge of the human nervous system. ... Or maybe that was last week. ... Whatever, they’re supposed to pass the Turing Test, as if that was a big deal. ... But what I want to know are the hidden wellsprings of Artificial Stupidity....

AOL: America On Line. The largest and, for many years, by far the most annoying ISP. ... But now, in these last days, you can get a free aol.com email address!

Arduino: A beautiful open source embedded hardware platform based on Atmel AVR microcontrollers, designed and created by foreigners! Italians no less! ... So they called it that funny name. ... It uses a simplified C++, which makes it easier for beginners to figure the thing out, or so it is said. ... And see my dubious opinions.

ASIO: A low-latency “Audio Stream Input Output” windows driver, typically installed to make DAWs and their VSTis (and VSTi-like gadgets, such as Hauptwerk) play music better. ASIO4ALL is a free one-size-fits-all driver selflessly provided by the author for free!

Assembler: See the exciting discussion of high-level languages.

ASCII: American Standard Code for Information Interchange, which says it all; no other set of 128 character codes (including zero) is so universal. ... Sadly the actual characters are limited to 112, the rest taken-up by mostly-obsolete control codes, although some of these are still quite popular....

An available accessory is a ridiculously expen$ive gadget add-on, like camera lenses.

AWOL: “Absent WithOut Leave”.

Balanced I/O: In audio, “Input/Output” connections with three wires instead of the usually-minimal two. The extra wire carries a “mirror” image — 180º out of phase — of the normal signal, and the receiving gadget resolves these two signals by subtracting one from the other, which produces a result twice the magnitude of either signal alone; or something like that. ... The tremendous advantage of this practice is that intervening noise that creeps into the cable will on averge pollute the signal in-phase, particularly if the two wires are twisted, which is common; so ugly noise’ll get canceled-out by the process of subtracting one from the other. Of course, it costs more, and is usually only implemented in “professional” aka “expensive” equipment, or lunatic high-end hifi. Occasional malefactors have attempted to flog — usually without notice — a cheapo version where the third wire only contains a zero volt signal with the same impedance as the signal wire — so when the receiving device does the subtraction the intervening in-phase noise will be rejected as usual, but the desired signal will not be magnified as it is when two out-of-phase signals are resolved. However in our modern transistorized times making the signal louder is often cheaper than the 180º-out-phase circuit, so it all ends happily ever after except for ignorant cranks on the internet complaining about it....

Basic: The beautiful infuriating language upon which our delightful world of ever-micro-er little computers was founded. I wrote a ridiculous teletype text editor with Radio Shack Color Computer Basic during the mesozoic era....

BBS: Bulletin Board Service. What we dialed our 300 baud modems at. They had the most amazing things, but it was a dark time before the world wide web, and we were easily impressed. Nevertheless, a lot of software got strewn-around that way. ... I of course didn’t go for the dirty pictures....

BDE: Borland Database Engine. In the olden days, Borland’s anti-ODBC, but now gone and mostly forgotten....

Beat box: Supposedly these lunatics huffing into their microphones and making drum noises, but see my dissent.

BFD: The beautiful and blameless Behringer Feedback Destroyer.

BLR: Base Line Rule of course: the underline “_”.

Breakdown: In the kidz muzic today, to pause the thump thump thump of the drums. ... Or, alternately, to stop the “music” and leave a thump thump solo.

BSD: Berkeley Software Distribution. A FOSS Unix-like system that isn’t Linux. ... BSD License: a FOSS license that’s not GNU which means, basically, that BSD-licensed software can be used any which way you like without genuflecting to Richard Stallman.

BUS: A set of circuit wires connecting like-minded digital components together. But really the term was used before that to denote any orderly collection of electronic signals, i.e. an “audio bus”. But I knew it first in the 8-bit computers of my formative years, what would exchange data over an 8-wire “data bus”. ... Once upon a time, the concept of a “bus-oriented machine” confused things — or me, at least, when an acquaintance insisted his big iron didn’t need no stinking bus. But of course he was a software guy. ... The confusion was between systems that exposed a system bus including a complete set of computer signals for the convenience of plug-in cards versus computers without such arrangements which, nevertheless, used address and data buses just like all decent digital devices. ... In audio, “bus” is a mixer destination with various complicated attributes; software DAWs also have buses, supposed to be like the h/w mixer but vastly more accomplished and complicated. ... BUSS, illiterate/British: A fey spelling adopted by at least one of the Brit music mags, perhaps in an effort to make a mixer “bus” snootier or, slightly more excusably, disambiguate the audio flavor from the digital, although as far as I can determine in careful tests the most likely definition of the two-s word is “A kiss; a playful kiss; a smack” which might be a connotation they have in mind....

C++ Builder: Borland’s translation of Delphi into a C-- GUIRAD, ©2000. Even more obscure than Delphi, although I use it constantly. But almost never for Windows GUI programming, which is still easier in Delphi.

A Cache is a software mechanism to save data temporarily in a way that speeds-up the user’s experience. I remember when I got some kind of disc caching on my MSDOS machine in the ’80s, and a visiting know-it-all was stunned at the apparent speed.

CAM: In the wonderful world of electronics, Computer-Aided Manufacturing. ... Which, as far as my experience goes, means ridiculously unintelligible files containing endless numbers which will be the only reason my PCB designs fail....

CC: 1. Adobe’s astonishing & thrilling Creative Cloud where the ever-so-æsthetic software company holds your Adobe programs hostage. Often referred-to (in these pages anyway) as Creative Clod. I should note the scam is how the Creative Cloud somehow empowers your wonderful photoshop et al.; the reality is a remorseless copy-extortion scheme, so you must pay, continually, forever.

2. A CC code signifies a MIDI Continuous Controller, which code handles all the stuff that isn’t like a single keystroke: volume, those awful pitch wheels, and the endless regalia of wacko synthesizer variable effects.

CD: Plain old Compact Disc. Now officially obsolete as the Beatles have gone on iTunes....

CDR: 1. Compact Disc Recordable. It looks like an average CD, but has super powers when used with a drive that can unleash them. Such a drive will appear to copy things to the CDR, and many times they can actually be read back. ... CDRs can only be written once; there are also CDRWs which will appear to be written-to numerous times. ... See also DVDR. 2. The Corel DRaw file extension for of course the gracious and beautiful Corel Draw program....

CIS: Compuserve Information Service. One of the older ISPs. Absorbed by AOL some time ago, but that was after I left....

CLI: 1. Command Line Interface. You can still get one of these with a “DOS Box” (in Windows) or “shell” (Linux). It’s where you laboriously type commands to get things done: instead of accidentally erasing your hard drive when you click the wrong button, you just type “xtr del *”. 2. A recent “overlay” is Common Language Infrastructure, invented so the vast hordes of Linux “mono” programmers won’t have to wash out their mouths after saying CLR.

Click track: In the DAW environment, one can record and edit alleged music so long as it adheres to a rigid mechanical “tick” known as a “click track”.

A Clonewheel keyboard is an imitation Hammond tonewheel / drawbar organ, covering a wide variety of electronic devices including many latter-day actual Hammond organs, such as my departed Commodore. The fidelity of the imitation is entirely up to the vendor, ranging from a few voices on a Yamaha or Casio to elaborate latter-day evocations such as the Nord C2.

The Cloud: 1. The Internet (ignorant); usage: “Google’s web apps are in the cloud”. 2. Web 2.0 aka “Ajax”; see previous example. 3. Broken stuff that, instead of being infuriatingly annoying on your desktop or in your phone, is infuriatingly annoying on the internet, and therefore far cooler. 4. Something hand-waving about anything technical. ... 5. A bunch of virtual servers located somewhere that are available for rental — so that Mr. Businessman, instead of buying roomfuls of hardware, can rent this stuff as he needs it. The Amazon Elastic Computer Cloud is the obvious and actually for-sale example of this; Microsoft is as usual trying to catch-up with “Azure” or something.

... Perhaps I should mansplain this “Cloud” thingey a little. At 1995 and before, something known as “client/server” stalked the land, the business-end of the term being “server” and Mr. Biznessman had to have one; or many. The technology was everywhere, and the IT guys were its prophets; and made oodles of money. These client/server systems were connected via Mr. Biznessman’s own cables and/or wholly-owned continent-spanning high speed connections. You couldn’t do it with modems, although the poor road warriors were constantly whimpering about trying.

Eventually internet connections got fast-enough so Mr. Biznessman could do it that way. Naturally, there was about a decade of phony puffery claiming he could, but then it actually got near-enough. “For government work” as we say. And virtualization got better, so vendors could rent virtual servers, configured to Mr. Bizman’s IT guys’ specs, and run ’em up at a moment’s notice. This was so thrilling, they called it the “Cloud” — a name change necessary at least because the client/server thing, particularly with modems, had gotten such a bad reputation....

CLR: Common Language Runtime. The interpreted thing underneath all Microsoft’s NET languages, guaranteeing they all inter operate and don’t push ahead of each other.

CMS: Content Management System. How you put your wise and witty blogs onto the web. Otherwise known as, approximately, WordPress. The complicated technical idea is it’s so complicated and technical to write every little itty bit of your web site — i.e. the way I create this deathless masterpiece — so you use this wonderful CMS stuff, which’ll just let you shoot your thoughts up there without half-trying, from your cellphone or maybe your video game. ... You or a minion will doubtless keep meticulous backups, you’re not going to just leave all that junk up on the web alone and afraid?!?!? ... Right and I believe advanced testing is underway to see if any form of content other than blogs is suitable, but medical science is not optimistic....

Cold: Anything below 74º q.v.

Compact Flash is the monstrouly-huge 1¾’’ x 1½’’ digital camera “film” which was pretty-much replaced this week by the svelte SD. Also “CF”.

Comp. Editor: Intheboxproductions says “Composite Tracking, or ’comping’ is a term referring to the process of taking the best parts of multiple takes, and piecing those parts together into one [best] take.” And, of course, many DAWs have a special editor designed to facilitate this. Music Technology, Sound On Sound magazine’s dubious-but-readable 2011 “Smart Guide” special issue, claims it’s “short for compiling” (p. 96). ... And I say they obviously don’t know; so I’ll vote for “compare” as a likely root....

CP/M: Control Program / Microprocessor. Yes there was something before MSDOS: this was what our microcomputers ran in a time so ancient cell phones hadn’t been invented! ... After CP/M was the sad and wildly-unsuccessful MP/M....

CPU: Central Processing Unit. The electronic component that rules our lives and world, and with which I have such an intimate personal understanding....

CR, CRLF: Carriage Return and Carriage Return/Line Feed of course, the great line-ending codes in ASCII.

CRT: Cathode Ray Tube. This was the antideluvian device in our TVs and monitors, until LCD sets were discovered. CRTs were cheaper and had better and more flexible video; LCDs are more expensive, have inflexible video, and poorer color performance. LCDs are bigger or at least wider, and do weigh less, of course. ... See also HDMI.

CSS: Cascading Style Sheets. Wikipedia explains it all, but it’s basically more mumbo-jumbo to make the web more confusing. And has been quite successful....

CYA: Cover Your A--, a term describing almost the entire content of most modern corporate and government documents, i.e. useless drivel whose only purpose is to somehow protect the originator from various legal and perhaps supernatural threats.

DAC: Digital to Analog Converter: Circuitry, usually an IC, that takes as input a digital signal and emits beautiful analog sound or noise depending on the function and musical genre. To thoroughly muddy the waters, there is a hi-fi component promoted as a DAC, as if we could just take random digital data and magically transforme it into audio, when in fact there are numerous flavors of digital music, all of them reliably incompatible if not aggressively hostile to each other; the hi-fi DAC gadgets usually take a USB input at least, but that is by no means a certainty.

DAW: Usually refers to Digital Audio Workstation software for which one pays extortionate amounts, although in the past that would be even more extortionate amounts for a software/hardware combined workstation product. ... And be sure to see my ignorant summary of various DAWs, ideas, and prices....

dBV is decibels relative to 1.0 Volts. dBu (or dBv; changed to “u” for “unloaded” to avoid confusion with dBV): the RMS voltage in a 600Ω load dissipating 0 dBm (1 mW) aka 0.7746 Volts. dBFS is a latter-day digital measure of decibels relative to “full scale” i.e. the maximum digital volume value. Analog systems had no such thing, but digital definitely does.

Delphi: The obsolete Pascal-based programming environment with a GUIRAD. ... The easiest way to program Windows, and therefore the loser to MFC in the programming wars, now officially moot. Friday, August 11, 2006 4:43 pm. Wait! Hold the phone! Delphi may not be down for the count. ... Oops maybe better hang-up anyway; things still aren’t looking so good. ... Then there’s the Lazarus work-alike open-source product which is eternally, sadly, prime time unready. ... I should note that the Delphi version I tried to buy around 6/15 appears to be a complete scam....

A Design Pattern is something über programmers use to mark territory, like dogs. The field’s “bible”, the 1994 Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software, is $41 at Amazon today, which pretty-much delineates the high purposes of the practice. Although actually now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure it used to cost a lot more; heck I just bought a used copy for $30, and I’m pretty-sure a few years ago it was $50 or nothing; definitely hard times for programming tree markers these days. ... Anyway, the basic theme is some ridiculously-vague hand-waving about “best practices” or something, and then they suggest you therefore must pay big fees — which I’m pretty sure doesn’t work like it used to. ... I believe it’s considered poor form to accuse anyone of misusing a design pattern, at least with anything more than a polite sneer; because once that sort of thing gets going some ignoramus like myself is bound to wonder “how can you tell?” and then where would we be?! ... So those who know, won’t say; and those who say, aren’t design pattern authorities. ... Do see MVC....

DHCP: Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, usually as in “DHCP Server”. ... When your network doesn’t have one of these, you’re screwed. ... Unless you’re a hopeless renegade and use numeric addresses like me....

A DI box is “variously claimed to stand for direct input, direct injection or direct interface” (wikipedia). It’s a gadget guitarists or keyboard players used to connect their electric instruments directly to a console or tape recorder or, perhaps, the live-performance sound system. This when performers and particularly bass-guitarists wished to create recordings without vast quantities of noise and distortion, a goal abandoned long ago, although DI is still used, I believe, maybe surreptitiously, in live performances. ... Apparently many of the very successful Motown LPs recorded bass that way, which I only learned after years of ignorant blather in music magazines about the super-human subtlety of Motown bass parts....

Digital Zoom: crude digital trickery to pretend a camera has real aka “optical” zoom, but producing a noticeably pixelated image. A 2005 user review of my beloved Canon S2 complained his zoomed pictures were cruddy — undoubtedly a victim of an enabled digital zoom setting in one of the 5 million menus. In its manual Canon warns repeatedly that “images become coarser the more they are digitally zoomed” — so don’t do that.

DIP: Dual Inline Plastic. When the world was young and beautiful, the proud bringers of the new age fire used this little IC package to construct vast and amazing PCBs. Instead of these pitiful SMD smidgeons we have to settle-for in these latter degraded times....

DisplayPort: The latest — as of Friday, March 18, 2011 11:44 am anyway — video connection technology, used today by Macintoshes so they can snoot at the rest of us. It looks a little like a USB cable but of course is incomparably different and superior. ... Ooops too late I think it’s been superceded by Thunderbolt at least @ Tuesday, March 19, 2013 6:56 pm....

“Distro” is short for “Linux distribution”, a wonderful CD or some downloadable file — an enormous chunk o’ junk which gets bigger and bigger every year — which the poor prisoners of Windows can use to switch to the powerful dangerous free free FOSS operating system. ... If they dare. ... If it works. If it doesn’t repartition your hard drive to a faretheewell. ... But none of those nasty things happen hardly ever, at least in on-line propaganda and Linux magazines, and then it will work wonderfully and do everything perfectly that Windows just wishes it could do....

DIY: Do It Yourself. As opposed to paying extortionate fees to incompetent criminals, waste ridiculous amounts of money and time learning how inadequate you are....

DMA: Direct Memory Access. Sounds like a great idea, no? ... No, no, it means Direct etc. by someone other than the CPU, who of course does that kind of thing constantly. ... The idea is that the CPU, memory, and other components all sit on a common bus, and it’s often a good plan to allow devices to talk directly to memory instead of going thru the CPU middleman. I believe the whole idea is mostly old-hat these days....

DNS: Domain Name Server; what translates your foolish human names (like “google.com”) into nice machine-usable numbers so you can see anything on the glorious web. They reside out there on the internet, mumbling-away to themselves fitfully....

DOA: Dead On Arrival, a grim hospital term for the ambulance too slow/late, but mostly familiar to us peasants as a description of all-too typical American hi-tech merchandise — hardly inevitable, but all-too common.

DPI: Dots Per Inch. Once a cherished metric with which you could make other people feel bad about their cheap printers, it hardly makes a difference anymore, since printers got color and know how to mix it.

Drawbars are how you adjust your lovely Hammond organ or clonewheel tone.

DRM: Digital Rights Management — the $3 word for “copy protection”. ... Even Linux Journal referred to the dubious practice as DRM — until others I presume, other than me that is, apparently complained about what a racketous bogus euphemism it was. ... I mean I’m certainly not managing my digital rights with this junk, at least never willingly. ... And then after all these years, I realized: “copy protection”?!?!?!? ... Nothing of mine is getting protected! ... The stupid techno babble is itself a euphemism for “copy restriction”! ... A reasonable being would conclude that those use such terms speak at least with forked tongues. ... A recent slashdot sighting playfully has it “Digital Restriction Management” which is cute but not quite there, since it still implies I’m restricting something....

Dropbox is a wonderful program that allows PCs and iphones to share files without ridiculous difficulty, at least once you get it going. There’s a free version with a few gigabytes of storage, and then you can pay whatever you want for ever so much more. Like all modern software, the program does its best to confuse and infuriate the user — when I had to “upgrade” my iphone recently, I took at least half an hour as dropbox gaily tried to convince me, for some incomprehensible reason, to set up a new account. ... But still, once it’s going, it’s tremendously useful: one of its most charming talents is getting camera photos off the iphone, which otherwise requires buying a macintosh — or, for those totally self-destructive types, installing iTunes or whatever it’s called this week on a Windows PC....

DSD: Direct Stream Digital — the hottest impossibly newest thing with which to listen to that endless clicky pop music stuff. Nothing like that wretchedly old-fashioned PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) what we’ve been listening to these pitiful CDs all these years, which as all Golden Ear Cultists know are not only worse than LP vinyl records for heavens’ sake !! but are hideously deformed compared to SACDs (Super Audio CD) and who knows what else, and, of course, DSD; which I believe probably is SACD. ... But DSD is an absolute audio revelation. ... And which is nothing like that boring old-fashioned PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation), the latter being what the Arduinos and other lesser gadgets use to control their robot motors.

I must admit I’m such an ignoramus for years I mistook PWM for PCM!!! ... But PCM versus PWM is so simple: PCM uses multiple-bit codes; in CDs at any rate, these codes are 16-bit signed words used (“sampled”) at a rate of 44.1K cycles per second as we used to say, which after being converted by a DAC will supposedly represent audio up to 20 kHz nicely because Nyquist says so. ... PWM also is emitted at a particular rate, but consists of a single bit which gets turned off and on, i.e. a signal level. In signed DSD, the sound would be most positive with a continuous on bit, and most negative with zero. The levels in-between are represented by turning the bit off/on at various rates, and if that doesn’t make sense, you haven’t stared at the illustration I stole from somewhere long-enough....

It isn’t clear to me how DSD is encoded — onto the pitifully-obsolete SACDs, or downloadable files or DVDs — but I expect the obscurity is intentional since the whole DSD thing is one of these lovable Sony attempts to take over the world which have been such sad failures of late. ... My crude PWMing motor controllers don’t want to record the stuff or even produce minus values. Although occasionally you can hear a motor controller “singing” in a scanner or printer as the head scoots around, of which as always there are youtube videos....

A Sony DSLT (Digital Single Lens Translucent) camera is just like a DSLR except it solves the vibration problem by not flipping the mirror. With the lens removed, the mirror looks exactly like a DSLR, which is really the whole point: the senile foto-fan geezertariet can see that mirror thingey in there and know it’s the real thing. ... I have been unable to google it, but I know in my heart the DSLTs will make that beloved ker-thunk — if it knows what’s good for it. ... And apparently the Sony DSLT at least hasn’t graduated to the optional electronic shutter yet, so the mechanical thing will still make a little noise at least....

Dubbing (music recording): adding another musical part to an existing performance; in the dark ages, via another track on a multi-track tape recorder. Layering, I gather, is dubbing a lot, i.e. the way we pitiful strivers do in our bedroom recording setups, because our DAW only has one or 2 inputs, so we have to dub everything....

DVDR: Digital Video Disc Recordable. See CDR for the general idea — but of course the DVD flavor is so much bigger! ... One note: there is a DVD-R and a DVD+R flavor — “hyphen” versus “plus” — and the right flavor is the “+”. ... At least for data, in my experience; I suspect the minus may be better or at least acceptable for the usual application, stealing movies....

DVI: Digital Visual Interface. It’s so much newer than HDMI. But already older than DisplayPort. ... Confusingly, the standard DVI connector — which comes in numerous physically-incompatible flavors, and looks like a super-tech VGA cable kind-of — is larger than the HDMI connector, even ’though the latter has more letters! ... It confuses me, anyway....

EDM: Electronic Dance Music of course; almost inevitably created in a DAW to a vicious click track — although if no human-generated music is involved, as is common, the click track’s redundant. ... Such concoctions infallibly induce young ladies to wiggle important body parts, at least in Europe....

EG: Envelope Generator, what might produce the ADSR envelope in a music synthesizer. This one is so hard. I’ve forgotten it repeatedly and then for the life of me I can’t remember what the stupid letters mean!

EMI: Electromagnetic Interference. We used to use this as an excuse for everything, as in “oh that thing crashes all the time from EMI”. ... Even today you can ask a technical specialist why your stupid piece of mediocrity usux junk crashes constantly, and they’ll mumble about EMI and insist you need a separate power line to “get a good ground”. ... Ah but you kids don’t know anything! A place I worked at had really marvelous S100 computers that would reboot if you looked at them; definitely EMI problems....

EPROM: Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory. ... I just realized these are antiques now, their time gone and forgotten! ... But back in the day, this was how I got software into my gadgets. The little window was how you’d erase the thing, with ultraviolet light! ... Those were the days! ... Well actually I still supported products that used these things only a few years ago....

EQ: Equalization, the universal balm for awful modern music, typically applied with an electronic gadget or software imitation. ... A sort-of monstrously elaborate bass/treble control. ... And refers generally to any process or device that can adjust tone, as in “he EQed the song”....

EVF: Electronic Viewfinder. What the degenerate latter-day non-DSLR cameras might have, i.e. as opposed to a ridiculous mechanical mirror. Or the traditional power-sucking LCD....

FAT, FAT32, NTFS, exFAT32: Various Microsoft disk file formats: the “File Allocation Table” and its 32-bit version, the XP-and-onwards “New Technology File System” (or whatever Microsoft claims it means this week), and of course the “you’re-screwed EXtended FAT32”, which is what the “ex” means in many Microsoft contexts, although in this case I gather it’s supposed to accommodate all the over-4Gb files you want on your SD without wearing-out the SD write-mechanism, which is the sin of NTFS....

Before FAT32 there was of course FAT aka FAT16, which was only a pitiful 16-bits, and shepherded our tiny dabs of files through years of MSDOS. There were a few variants of that, many of them documented, and then we got Windows 95 and 98 and 98/2nd edition and the glorious era of FAT32. ... Well wait ol’ W95 didn’t get it up until some revisions in. ... Anyway, NTFS came with all the grand NT systems and eventually with XP, the great coalescing operating system which was the end of Windows 98 (kiddie car children) and Windows 2000 (hard edgy professionals). NTFS is a “journaling” file system which means, essentially, that the numerous times Windows operating systems crash for no reason anyone can fathom during one’s workaday activities, you won’t get that snarky infuriating message about how “you did something stupid and because of your stupid behavior, the Virtuous Microsoft Software has to scan your hard drive very slowly for the next 17 years.”

For some time they told us how wonderful NTFS was but then along came external USB hard drives and thumb drives and SD, and golly, it wasn’t that wonderful. ... These USB thingeys could be plugged into other people’s computers, which of course might be unable to read NTFS, if their software somehow wasn’t sold by Microsoft — because it’s secret you dope; it must not be revealed!!! ... So people had to use FAT32 for these things, as much as Microsoft told them not to. And then again, NTFS isn’t really much fun for flash thumb drives and plain old file archiving/transfer in general, although I’m not sure of the precise Microsoft delusional position on that. ... But then there was a terrible problem:. how could Microsoft convince the suckers customers to buy the wonderful new Vista? ... One of the answers is probably exFAT32: an incompatible FAT32 that once again, in all likelihood, nobody could read — including people with that crummy old-fashioned XP operating system! ... For some obscure reason, they never updated XP in one of the service packs for exFAT32! ... Exciting update — it’s worse than I thought! Microsoft OSes won’t format a disk larger than 32 gig — practically minuscule these days — with anything other than NTFS. So you can’t share big drives with one of those nasty Macintoshes. ... Actually that’s how I formatted one of my 500 gig USB backup drives: I took it to my iMini, which was happy to do it. ... But you don’t need a mac: blessed Hewlett Packard came to the rescue (around 2004 apparently), and if you google for “hp formatting tool” you too might find their windows / command-line formatting programs, which seem entirely copacetic with FAT32. ... And for that matter it is said, although I’ve never tried it, that Macs can deal with NTFS drives these days, and so at last peace reigns over the valley....

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions, usually a section on a product website. ... In most cases, covers obscure nonsense no one would ask in a million years. ... Obvious stuff, like why this stupid program doesn’t work, are almost never included.

Firewire is another more-or-less proprietary Apple better-’n’-USB connection standard, but we don’t have to worry about it anymore since Apple kicked it to the curb in favor of Thunderscam ... or there may have been a few intervening offerings, I’m not sure. In its last days, I got a genuine firewire card for the music attic computer, and I have a vague memory of actually plugging something into it ... but I can’t remember what....

Fixed Numeric TCP/IP Addresses: like “10.1.1.8” instead of “myMachine”. ... These are used by cogniscenti and lunatics like myself to connect our silly attic networks together without using DHCP.

Flash Shoe: the gadget on top of one’s SLR et al. to which one can attach a flash device. Apparently in our decadent era the idea has devolved to something called a hot shoe, supposed to connote the idea that the fixture contains some kind of vile proprietary electronic intelligence, with stupider gadgets being known as a cold shoe. ... Which, in fact, used to refer to a shoe which can only physically mount a flash, but had no electronic connection. So the subject’s entirely bolixed in the glorious digital camera era, but the flash shoe of yore contained a minimal intelligence, the ability to close a switch at the proper moment to provide flash for the picture being exposed, with no auto nothing....

FOSS: Free/Open Source Software. Like Linux. And I must admit for years I had no idea what they meant by “free as in beer” (i.e. as opposed to “free as in freedom”) — until I realized these fellows mostly come from the groves of academe where I would guess beer is often available without cost! ... But not when I was a barefoot boy on Broadway!...

FTP: File Transfer Protocol. Commonly understood as the useful way to transfer your content to a beautiful and informative web site like this one. ... Contrasted with the stupid way: using some proprietary junk the scammy web site mangler wants to torture you with, usually for the purpose of stuffing advertising in your ear. ... On the other hand, Usux™ has an unending battle to make our computers malfunction, and one of their major targets is FTP — since nobody uses it, do they? ... Oh? ... Well, who knew?....

FX: (1.) Nikon’s silly name for their full-frame i.e. ~35mm digital camera format, as opposed to the DX half-frame, which Canon calls APS-C, after some wretched kiddie-film of yore. I’ve concluded the supposed benefits of full-frame versus half-frame are bogus, just like the astonishing benefits of a mechanical flipping mirror in the DSLR mechanism they scam the geezers with. ... Film cameras with larger film sizes had higher resolution, but such is not the case with digital, since they can, and do, put as many pixels as they want in there — except when the sensor gets much smaller than the DX/FX size, like cell phones — so that’s completely bogus. They will occasionally aver that larger pixels are inherently less noisy / more sensitive, but probably the real reason the poor geezers were so attached to their full-frame digital cameras was so their old reliable 35mm lenses’d fit on ’em, and a 30mm lens’d be wide angle like the Great Nullity intended, same as ever, gol’ darnit.

... Well, OK, maybe the bigger pixels are a little better, but I still doubt it’s more than an fstop or so. It’s never quantified, and of course it would be if it actually existed, flogged out the kazoo. ... It’s always hand-waving “better low light performance” and I’ll believe it when I actually use a hand-held low light camera with good pictures....

(2.) “Framework”? Especially Microsoft? ... This one snuck up on me. Once everything was “NET 2.0” or something, and then — voila! — it’s “NET FX 2.0”! ... Wikipedia claims “WinFX [is the] Codename of Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0” but does not use “FX” to mean framework generally in their NET article. ... So who knows? ... But a few weary years later (3/17) I think it’s gone; googling “NET FX” gets me bunches of .NET framework junk, but no more “FX” per se....

Wikipedia isn’t terribly helpful about it, but Gain Staging is the process of getting the highest signal-to-noise ratio out of an audio system by adjusting levels. My strategery is to set-up the loudest signal I anticipate (i.e. via some kind of test equipment or mechanism) at the input, and go through the chain of audio devices, from where the sound begins to the output, usually a speaker or maybe a DAW or something, and adjust intervening volume controls so the signal is at maximum but not above. ... The “noise” in “signal-to-noise” is, most offensively, hum; but also hiss and every kind of strange thing, all of which we’d prefer not to hear when enjoying or otherwise tormenting our beloved sounds....

GC: Garbage Collection. A software mechanism used in Java and .NET (most famously) and other languages instead of the old-fashioned and extremely-error-prone manual memory allocation/deallocation of C language and other primitive tongues. ... GC never stops everything for a few seconds to do its stuff — while, for instance, running the laser brain surgery machine....

GNU: “GNU’s Not Unix” — note incredibly cute recursive definition there — and I don’t care, doo dah etc. ... Actually GNU and its patron saint and originator Richard Stallman are responsible in so many ways for numerous projects including Linux, but Stallman’s insistence that it should’ve been called “GNU/Linux” typifies an occasionally intransigent attitude — well, OK, Stalinist ... perhaps “Stallmanist”?

GPS: Global Positioning System, but usually referring to the gadget in one’s car that utilizes this technology. Which, according to media reports, inevitably induces the user to drive into miscellaneous lakes and rivers. Which functionality has been entirely superseded by Apple’s MAPS app, and other similar achievements....

GUI: Graphical User Interface. The pathetic unmanly thing you’re looking at. Back when men were men, we used CLIs, and the earth thundered when we roared.

GUIRAD: A term I made-up (“RADGUI” was taken!) which I hereby decree should denote a two-way GUI RAD: an IDE that automates GUI composition, ameliorating the grinding obscenity of “handmade” GUIs; the “two-way” part means the mechanism remains usable after the first go-round. ... This sort of thing is/was a key feature of various IDE offerings from Microsoft’s Visual Basic of yore to the latest Visual Studio, Borland’s Delphi, and numerous Java environments back when Java had applets. ... The Linuxoids claim they have GUI RADs, but I’ve only encountered one-way tools where you (1.) “draw” a GUI in a special window, (2.) translate it to code, and then (3.) add your own code — after which you can’t go back to step #1; if you want to change anything in the GUI ever again, you have to do it by hand with no stinking automation. ... Unlike the composition tools of Microsoft, Java, and my beloved Borland, which allow endless elaboration of the GUI no matter how much code you’ve written. ... Another way to put this: one-way bad, two-way good....

GWBasic: “Gee Whiz” Basic? A guy named “Greg Whitten” who is somehow responsible for the language isn’t sure, Wikipedia says. ... Anyway, it’s what came with MSDOS in the olden days, and was pretty vile. ... Although a lot of people including me wrote a lot of code in it or its dialects....

Hexadecimal: A numbering system without which us Real Programmers could not live, also functioning as a supremely-effective mumbo-jumbo shield against the computer proletariat. I once knew a real whiz kid at Ithaca Intersystems who had memorized the entire 8080 instruction set, and perhaps he’d’ve immediately recognized the hex number 162E as the old familiar decimal 5678, but aside from perennial favorites like 7F (127 decimal) nobody actually reads them with ease.

HD: 1. High Definition — video, sound, anything. ... Whatever your heart desires, and more. ...The sun and the moon and the sky. ... At Best Buy. ... HDMI for instance. ... In our cutting-edge PC world, it is often taken to mean a 1920x1080 screen resolution which still won’t be enough to fit whatever it is you think it ought to. ... Actually in our modern times, your 1920x1080 “HD” is embarrassingly under-powered and you should be ashamed of yourself....

2. Definitely not high definition, our beloved Hard Drives still spin and still save all my data anyway, but are unspeakably slow and terrible compared to the brave new wonderfully expen$ive SSDs.

HDMI: High Definition Multimedia Interface. ... We peasants mostly see this as an inevitable part of the LCD TVs at the big box store, denoted as “HDMI TV”. ... “High Definition” presumably means increased resolution as compared to your old boring CRT; I believe actual man-in-the-street tests have confirmed hardly anyone can tell the difference without special optical equipment. ... “Multimedia Interface” means, as far as I can dope-out, “copy-restriction” which probably won’t work. ... At least, it didn’t work for some years, and it probably still doesn’t, although crack technologists at large would-be monopolies are hot on the trail. The idea is you try plugging your “HD” DVD player (which I think means “Blue Ray” these days but who can say?) into your HDMI TV, and it’s bound to work perfectly. ... See also my panegyric to LCD aspect ratios. ... And be sure to check out DVI and DisplayPort. ... The HDMI connector on your ridiculously-expensive HDMI cable looks like a distorted USB thing.

Hi-Fi, High Fidelity: A strange archaic term that in my life originally referred to the hulking tube-based monophonic amplification equipment in my parent’s parlor which would occasionally erupt in depressing late Beethoven quartets on Sunday mornings. Today it refers to anything involving audio and electronics that costs more than about $5,000; although cheaper devices are sometimes admitted as tokens....

High-Level Language: Decent useful languages like Pascal or C, as opposed to the barbaric chicken tracks of assembler. Although some sensitive folk sniff that C is practically assembler. ... Assembler, on the other hand, is machine language with symbols, i.e., “ldx #bingo” would load the X register on a particular processor with whatever value is represented by “bingo”. A high-level language doesn’t know about processor registers, at least until you’re through with it, and you might go instead “Gwhat := BINGO;” (Pascal). And actually, for most people all computer languages look like chicken tracks. ... Note, incidentally, that both high-level compilers and assemblers eventually output machine code; that is, they are both language translators that take a hideous subset of English as input, and produce machine code for a particular processor as output, and in a way are indistinguishable except for what many normal beings would consider stylistic quibbles. However, an assembler is at least supposed to be deterministic: even if I use assemblers from different companies, if they target the same processor I expect the same input to produce the same output. This is not true of high-level language compilers; the designer of the compiler is expected to exercise his guile producing clever output code and, back when there was competition between compilers, such optimizations were considered important selling points. ... All high-level languages are touted by pitiful fan-boy enthusiasts as being as fast as assembler. Sometimes idiots will insist their beloved is faster. These assertions are all untrue.

HDR: High Dynamic Range pictures are typically hyper-spooky mansions and landscapes. In the golden age of DSLR puffery, it was much advocated by the usual benign helpful merchants since the preferred raw images used immensely more bytes than lowly JPGs, and for HDR you have to have at least three of them, and the mags advocate many more! This scam sadly came to naught when storage space got so cheap it was hardly worth lying-about. ... To fix that, the mark enthusiast is supposed to subscribe-up to vast reaches of the Cloud. ... Luminance-hdr is a free FOSS program for this sort of thing, but the startling absence of demo sets of images abounding on the starry web suggests the fad ran out of steam — i.e., so we could test an HDR program, at least; making one of these image sets myself with my beloved DSLR does not attract me or apparently many others. Although beautiful amazing results are dutifully and regularly puffed in the photo mags — actually I suppose that’s why the absence of demos; you don’t want people actually trying these things without tremendous expense i.e., at least buying the silly DSLR? ... Although it turns-out I could do the “auto exposure bracketing” — the required afrit — at least with my beautiful point ’n’ shoot s2.

HTML: HyperText Markup Language. The peculiar chicken tracks in which this and many beloved web sites also are encoded-in. Utterly obsolete of course, at least the stuff used on any actual website....

Hz, Herz: 1. Technobabble meaning “I’m smarter than you”. 2. “Cycles per second”, the self-explanatory term it replaced, for the purpose of making you feel small and ignorant. Named after some scientist who probably didn’t deserve the obloquy.

I” as in iMac, iPod, etc.: “internet”. I realized this in a vision, and then found it confirmed at Wikipedia....

IANAL: I Am Not A Lawyer. ... An indispensable phrase in our modern bustling software world — so you don’t get sued when you voice any opinion, however small or ignorant, about anything legal — or make that, just anything. ... Of course, IANAL, so I don’t know if it works!

IC: Integrated Circuit of course. The adorable little chips that make-up our world. ... All I know, and all I need to know....

ICE: In-Circuit Emulator. A fairly elaborate gadget we advanced professionals plugged into our boards so that we could see what was going-on inside the microprocessor. These are mostly gone in modern times, superceded by comparable-or-better functionality built-in to the chip. ... Also see an even more antique version.

IDE: 1. Integrated Development Environment. A thing where programmers can compile, run, and most importantly, debug. Borland really invented it with Turbo Pascal for MSDOS (and CP/M, as the invaluable Wikipedia entry confirms and I vaguely remember). ... For me and probably others, it subsequently acquired the connotation of being able to manipulate the program’s GUI (that is, idiosyncratically, it was a GUIRAD) because that’s what Microsoft did with their Visual Basic, and of course Borland then copied with their Delphi (Pascal) and C++ Builder. ... But now in these latter days, the GUI aspect is receding, as vendors strive to make programming more laborious and error prone. 2. Integrated Drive Electronics. Forgot this one for a while! You usually see “IDE/ATA”, or just the shriveled “ATA”, which, weirdly, stands for “AT Attachment”, where the “AT” probably stands for “Advanced Technology” — which was the acronym for those wonderful 286 computers that succeeded the XT 8088 ones — so, drive electronics cable for the new 286. ... Googling “integrated drive electronics” leads to many informative pages. ... Of course it was all superseded by SATA....

Insane Millionaire version: In the glorious 1990s, the totally-non-collusive association of software mediocrities declared that all programs would have at least three versions: 1. The kiddy-wheel maybe-even-free probably-won’t-do-anything-useful and maybe annoy you version. 2. The average version everybody buys. 3. The “super” version with astonishing features that all decent geeks so lust after that they will mortgage their house and children; hence, the Insane Millionaire version. Long may it flourish and finance the childish cheaper versions! ... Sadly that didn’t work out; Borland entirely retreated into insanity-only around 2002, and has oddly persisted without translating to the seemingly inevitable “non-corporeal” i.e. the insane dead version. ... Even Microsoft Visual Studio has gotten so costly it’s obvious the original “trick ’em with just a taste” strategy was a failure, and all their versions are ridiculously-costly and non-functional. ... Except the free Microsoft Express 2012 was pretty good....

Interpreter, Compiler: The great two categories of program-language translators. Various Microsoft “Basic” languages, culminating in Visual Basic, were interpreters, with occasional exceptions, but now all the Microsoft “.NET” are, and will never compile again. Java is another well-known interpreter. “C” and “C++”, and Fortran and Cobol before it, are usually compiled. Both interpreters and compilers translate what we techies like to claim is human written language, i.e. the program I write in a text editor, into machine code. The interpreter does this while the program is running; the compiler, beforehand. As a result, compiled machine code always runs faster, although a common technical religious practice is to claim various special reasons and cases why this is not so for the newly-risen holy child interpreter-of-the-week.

IOT: The Internet Of Things, like so many of our useful technicalisms (see 3D, The Cloud), is a marvelous beautiful thing that is limited only by your imagination — and/or credulity. ... It’s here, it’s there, it’s everywhere! ... It’s your toaster, it’s your foolish late model vehicle. ... It’s everything connected so they can ... well, do something. ... Never mind ... it’ll be wonderful!....

ISO: International Organization for Standardization (i.e. in French or something), (1.) but in my computerish world usually refers to sizeable (~700 megabytes and up) “image” files with an “.iso” extension which, with the appropriate software, can be burned onto CDRs — and perhaps used as a “virtual CD” by even more talented software. ... Linux distributions are often conveyed in this form.

(2.) In the beloved foto fan world, ISO’s the film / digital sensor “speed” — its ability to capture darker images adequately. The digital flavor is adjustable which is much more fun. In the old days, it was ASA (American Standards Association), but even in our glorious digital age the numbers retain their meaning pretty-much: 50’s slow, 400’s getting up there, and the more recent silly cameras have ever higher/grainier ISOs which can actually render pictures in low light!

ISP: 1. Internet Service Provider. Those guys who we used to dial our telephone modems at. But even the shadowy forces behind your big pipe connection constitute an ISP. ... 2. Atmel/AVR In-System Programming; also ICSP, Microchip’s In-Circuit Serial Programming gadget. Both are embodied in identical 6-pin headers, traditionally supplied without any pin number markings to make it easier to set your prototype and/or debugging equipment on fire, but if that doesn’t work, the Microchip and Atmel flavors are totally incompatible of course. ... Both companies implement some kind of debugging interface on top of the chip-burning functionality, when they feel like it....

IT: Information Technology; generally referring to the humble drones who serve the servers, but also perhaps anything in business involving computers. In the days of big iron, the IT guys ruled, immortalized in the ongoing and edifying adventures of the Obscenity Operator from Obscenity, and from them comes the charming technical argot LUSER. I realized comparatively recently these are the people who became the Linux fanatics, revealing the roots of that bunch’s enthusiastic and light-hearted embrace of mendacity, i.e. “the users are too stupid to understand anyway”.

JPG, JPEG: The beautiful images with which we litter the internet, our phones, and, for those of us with antiquarian tendencies, our beloved cameras. It is a lossy image and therefore hideously unprofessional, requiring vast slathers of raw pixels to make up for it. ... And oh yes, it stands for “Joint Photographic Experts Group” as wikipedia explains at length....

kHz: Thousands of Herz.

Pitiful un-KVM-switched obsolete elderly imini.

KVM: A Keyboard Video Mouse switch is supposed to let me use two or more PC boxes with a single set of the aforementioned. Seemingly an unstated qualification is “two or more identical PCs” although I’ll never know, since all my computer attic boxes are elderly cranks and won’t play nice together or even alone. ... Even my two ridiculous Apple minis have incompatible video; with themselves and with the beloved VGA standard which is the glory of the $30 KVM VGA/USB switches. There are DVI KVMs, rare and precious as the jewels of araby, or at least $85 at amazon, but the newer mini has an adapter just to get to that — although I just realized that’s what the older mini is adapted from, so I’m sure that’d work perfectly and consummate a lifelong dream. ... And then there’s the ancient discarded we all spit on PS/2 (keyboard) / VGA flavor. ... Note that one must observe a rigid ritual with these things, letting the first PC boot-up completely, and then using the switch to select the second PC, and booting it up completely. Although of course I’ve never gotten that far, subsequently you can switch between them with perfect ease. ... Old/bad KVM switches had wonderful software keyboard “hot” keys instead of physical switches, and these of course worked even better than the physical switches!

LAN: Local Area Network. For me, it began with Windows for Workgroups; well actually a little afterwards with Windows 98; the general term for all that wiring (usually ethernet) that hooks-up the average office computers together.

LATENCY: Amongst the DAWs, the time it takes for an input to the computer to appear at the output of the computer. Usually ridiculously low 1 or less milliseconds are quoted for the super-audio interface of the week. ... But more usefully, it’sthe (small) time it takes to make a noise come from a VSTi on your PC after you press a key on a MIDI instrument connected to that computer. With my beautiful Akai MPKmini keyboard connected to a Reaper DAW “virtual instrument”, it’d take so long it was hard to play — at least with Windows’ default sound-handling. Installing my now-venerable E-MU 0404 audio/USB interface fixed that. ... Well, actually, many of the “in-the-box” crowd are interested in the milliseconds from a microphone into the computer and out again, and that only makes a difference if you want to hear the voice with “sugar” reverb or some other effect provided by the DAW. If you are just recording audio stuff i.e. microphones into your DAW, latency isn’t such an issue I gather. ... Computer audio interfaces often have adjustable latencies; you can set ’em high (works) and low (loud crackling)....

Lucid Technical Explanation / Hand Waving: This works this way (or not) because the DAW will almost never be ready to make the next little slice of music at exactly the right time (“dedicated” hardware devices are computers that are more likely to do that). The DAW software emitting music at the typical 44.1KHz rate will, every 23 microseconds or so, send a slice of music over to the USB driver. Sadly, the DAW’ll be a little late sometimes, but sometimes it’ll be a little early, and in the latter case a software buffer lets it stick stuff in even if it isn’t “time” yet. So it can make up for its occasional tardiness and in fact, DAW software normally tries to emit the stuff as fast as it can, until the USB buffer is full. The USB driver, on the other hand, pulls off the slices of music at a precise rate, so it sounds good. Unless the DAW didn’t supply a slice in time, in which case the sound makes ugly crackling noises. If the machine is real slow, or the DAW is doing too much, crackling is relentless. The larger the buffer, the more likely it is the DAW’ll make it, but even on very fast systems, the DAW’ll never be able to show-up reliably at the exact right moment, so there has to be some buffer. Bigger buffer == longer delay == higher latency == less crackling. ... And actually, I imagine there are more buffers — software and hardware — in between the DAW and the hardware that finally emits the sound, so even the USB driver can be a little sloppy; but I’m just guessing....

LCD: It turns out that a Liquid Crystal Display adjusted to be as bright as the sun consumes a fair amount of power! ... Camera makers are stunned. ... And of course all the beautiful “HD” LCD monitors that replaced the CRTs are sometimes known as an “LCD” in the common speech....

Leslie speakers rotate the sound, woofers and tweeters, which gives it a super vibrato and historically made the Hammond organ a huge pop hit — perhaps replicating the beloved vibrato of the theater organs that went before. My beautiful Nord C2 includes an emulation of this effect, as do numerous other electronic keyboards. ... Product is still around today, throbbing through the world.

LIFI: LIterary FIction; the junk supposed intellectuals supposedly read. As opposed, at least, to “SCIFI”, SCIence FIction.

Light Field: A fakery term used for mystification of multiple-image (“focus after shot”) cameras.

Live View: In the beautiful DSLRs a magical feature where one can use an LCD screen instead of a viewfinder in order to drain the batteries rapidly and make the image invisible in sunlight — i.e., just exactly like numerous low-rent point ’n’ shoot cameras have done for years and years....

LOL: Light of Life, my esteemed co-conspirator.

MFC: Microsoft Foundation Classes. An obsolete easy-to-use Windows programming tool with which numerous boring second-rate programs were created. ... Actually, it’s extremely difficult to use; it has no GUIRAD. As opposed to the almost perfect Delphi. And today is pretty-much interred and the obsequies done long ago, so in that sense Delphi or even C-- Builder won the race, both of which are still sold for insane millionaire prices at whatever Borland’s called this week....

LIMEMS: Lotus Intel Microsoft Expanded Memory System. 1988! ... I spent years struggling with this stuff. ... The most arcane astonishingly complicated things we did when the world was new, just to get hold of a few megabytes of memory. You young folks and your gigabyte RAMs. ... As usual Wikipedia explains it all in their article on bank-switching.

Linux: After Linus Torvalds, the creator of this magical FOSS operating system — but surely you knew that already! ... I mean, google it....

LINQ: Language Integrated Query. The astonishing ability to stuff SQL-like statements into 2008-or-so Microsoft C# and VB .NET script languages. PLINQ is naturally “Parallel” etc. — and probably the reason for it all....

Long Tail: This enigmatic obfuscation means “the internet is cheap”; the Wikipedia article is gloriously obscure, but does explain the term was inaugurated so-appropriately by the ever-obfuscatory Wired magazine in 2004. But all it means is puffery is really cheap on the internet. ... In olden times before 1995 or so, when a merchant wanted to lie to you he had to pay to print the lies on expensive dead trees, or convey them on even more expensive monopoly-controlled TV and radio. With the internet we can all lie to millions of people for practically nothing. ... In both cases, getting the people to pay attention is still difficult, and it’s even harder with the internet, but still very cheap. And if you puff enough, which is getting cheaper and cheaper, even if only a very few pay attention it’s as good as an expensive antideluvian ad campaign....

The Good: Amazon.com exploits the cheap internet to our benefit by selling everything that exists in the world and distant star systems. They can sell extremely obscure things because it costs almost nothing to promote them and make them available for sale. The “almost nothing” is something of an exaggeration; as we all know many internet merchants never figured-out how to sell things, but it is undoubtedly true that with intelligence and competence it is possible even for Americans to sell things on the internet for ridiculously less cost than the retail store alternative.

The Bad: The Nigerian scamsters exploit the cheap internet by emailing millions with illiterate get-rich-quick schemes — i.e., precisely equivalent to the popular state-run lotteries now abundant in the U.S., except the Nigerians pay nothing, as opposed to the best-case 72% (Massachusetts) return. ... The “spam” missives are illiterate so that only stupid people will respond — because trying to gull intelligent people is counter-productive, since they’re far more likely to make trouble with attornies general and such. But the scam is so cheap to execute on our beloved internet, the scamsters can easily afford to email millions of people just so a tiny minority of adequately-gullible morons respond. This cheap/stupid thing has been obvious and presumably well-known to security “professionals” who blither in magazines and on the web but is never mentioned — because the “professionals” are in the same racket, as is obvious from the despicable scamware relentlessly promoted by security and other companies. The blitherers make a living by puffing the companies, deluding the ignorant about threat levels — everything is portrayed as tremendously dangerous, which can only be survived by continually reading their column and buying expensive virus protection products from their advertisers. ... Not, I hasten to add, that there aren’t hordes of bad people out there trying to enslave your computer, but if anyone had the answer they’d be making billion$ and not writing a column or flogging one of the many meretricious security products. Indeed, Microsoft was presumably obliged to offer Microsoft Security Essentials, a free virus checker which gets uniformly poor blitherer reviews compared to expensive products, because it was cheaper for Microsoft to do that — because the internet is so cheap — than to do whatever they must to crush these vermin, which involves legal and other real costs and which, to their credit and also obvious self-interest, Microsoft is constantly engaged-in; when they’re not trying to con people into installing their “bing bar” as a “system upgrade”....

Loop: 1. A bar or two of musical content (in a DAW). Like the sounds on a toy guitar I have: i.e., suitable for repetition ad nauseum; without musical meaning. Although to be sure, some can be quite affecting, and it’s fun to stick random loops playing against each other in garageband. ... 2. A fundamental concept for some samplers; the gadget needs a loop in the “sustain” part of the sampled waveform, to play notes longer than the original sample.

Lossy, a characteristic of some compression methods: most famously, the beautiful JPG pictures our cameras take are lossy, and every time you save them in a paint program, the quality degrades, so you shouldn’t do that. The popular “zip” compression mechanism is non-lossy, and therefore suitable for compressing programs and other texts that should not be altered. ... The pictures are presumably so subjective and tawdry we don’t care....

LP: A Long Playing record, children; that’s a usually 12“ diameter thin plastic disc with a tiny spiral groove on it that would rotate at 33⅓ revolutions per minute, into which your ancestors would place a little ”needle“ attached to an arm on a pivot, to play music. That would be before CDs or today’s electronic downloads which everyone can steal for free. ... And before of course the recent weird resurrection of the medium, which hipster beatniks and other suspects seek-out, presumably for the LP’s characteristic fusillade of clicks and pops and relentless surface noise....

LSI: Large Scale Integration. Before everthing became so teeny tiny, this was the cats pajamas: chips with 20 or more pins and amazing complex functions. I think it was really a way of saying “not those simple-minded TTL 14-/16-pin chips” because the LSI heyday was in the time of the microprocessor — which is still as LSI as you can get. ... But typically the microprocessor would be surrounded by a few LSI chips which’d implement things like serial communcations and timing. Which are mostly in our latter days absorbed into the microcontroller....

USER, LUSER: Most typically, the poor frightened individual who uses IT, although the term applies generally to anyone who isn’t a programmer/techie but nevertheless is doomed to interact with computer equipment. ... “Luser” is the charming variant sometimes deployed by IT drones, just in case anyone doubted their fierce contempt for the class....

MAC” is short for the Holy Macintosh, computer for the rest of us and, also, the “creatives”, which seems a sort of odd description of the rest of us, but whatever....

MEGO: “My Eyes Glaze Over.” ... Gosh I don’t know how I’ve left this out for all these years.

MIA: “Missing In Action”, an oddly trivialized military term which meant someone lost, usually in battle. Now we’ll refer to any supposedly-mysterious disappearance that way. Which used to conventionally be AWOL, a less offensive term.

MIDI: Musical Instrument Digital Interface. The standard way keyboards talk to computers and vice versa — and so much more. ... MIDI doesn’t bother with audio waveforms, but transmits note-on and note-off information, along with a lot of other stuff, but basically switch/button kind of data, which makes it fast and efficient.

MINIX: The kiddy-wheels operating system that inspired Linus Torvalds to create the all-conquering Linux.

MODEM: MODulator/DEmodulator. A classic blinking-light machine we primitives used to communicate with our ISPs at 300 baud (incredibly slow). Over the telephone!

MO: Modus Operandi, generally in these pages referring to the time-worn scams I’ve come to know and love over the tattered years.

MOTU: Mark Of The Unicorn, a DAW company with a name from the olden days.

MP: MegaPixels, the absolute gold standard of DSLR etc. super-cameras. ... No matter how many, you cannot have enough: at 3/16 a high watermark is 50mp in Canon’s 5DSR, although due to my low tastes and bad habits, I find a barely-detectable 6mp is perfectly adequate. ... To give some vague frame of reference (forgive me puffsters of the universe) the Apple “retina” super ridiculous 2880-by-1800 high resolution LCD screen is a mere 5.2mp. ...

I should note that digital pictures have always looked “fuzzier” than chemical film slide-projector images, and I’ve assumed this is because our ever-higher monitor resolutions still can’t match the film; and it’s possible the “retina” even-higher resolutions might ameliorate that — but no. Looking at an image on one of these ridiculous WindowsHD” (1920x1080 aka 2mp) laptop tiny screens should have much the same effect, and indeed they do look sharper there. Tiny of course. ... But the giantest mac screen is still lower-rez than all but my precious Canon A610 pictures. ... And a super 3200x1800 windows laptop still didn’t do that ultra-sharp slide effect — and the iphone pictures still didn’t fit on the 5.8mp screen. It’s obvious digital film’s got a long way to go before it tags the resolution of chemical film, undoubtedly somewhere in the gigapixels or more — and the displays won’t reach anywhere near that until entirely different technologies and perhaps lifeforms appear....

And be sure to see my megapixel madness....

MP/M: “Multi-Programming Monitor Control Program” or so says Wikipedia. The talented incompetent offspring of CP/M....

MSDN: MicroSoft Developer Network. Where all the Kool Kids hang-out. And a magazine! Actually, mostly a magazine, the pitiful MSDN monthly, where Microsoft pretends to inform the unwashed about topics they must understand if they are not to perish in miserable want and fear. But in fact to propagandize whatever they’re flogging this week. ... Which sadly they do only on the web in our latter degraded days, the magazine having gone the way of all computer magazines....

MSDOS: MicroSoft Disk Operating System. Known to its friends as “DOS”. ... Not to be confused with a real operating system. What we ran our pitiful PCs with, when the earth was still cooling, in the 80s/90s.

MSRP: Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of course.

An MTF chart is a “Modulation Transfer Function” chart — much-used photography mumbo-jumbo. The definition is meaningless; the purpose of the acronym is almost always to convince you that a more expen$ive lens is the better buy. This is easily detectable: the charts generally have plenty of colored dots/lines representing data, but are very low in captions indicating the meaning of the numbers. That’s because you should know what an MTF chart is; and we don’t have to label it, because we’re scientific guys selling you important beautiful things....

MULTING: In a DAW, make multiple tracks out of different sections of a single audio track, to more easily apply effects. Like the guitar part should be all different for the verse and the chorus, etc. From Mike Senior’s Mixing Secrets book.

MVC: Model View Controller. ... I was reading some article in MSDN and I realized that the term wasn’t supposed to mean something! ... It’s just a design pattern. ... That’s why it never makes sense. It’s not intended to be explanatory; it’s insider jargon that, at best, connotes the current state of whatever dog’s breakfast coding style they have to use with whatever Microsoft atrocity they’ve got this week. ... In other words it has as much to do with how to write software as that OSI network thing has to do with how networks work. ... As the target is moved around, some recent excuses are MVP Model View Presentation and MVVM Model View View-model, but it’s all just guru scam hand-waving, without form or substance....

NAS: Network Attached Storage. These things are getting cheap; it’s a box you attach to your small business LAN and then with a little secret sauce software — voila! you have gigabytes everybody can use. ... I.e., so you don’t have to buy a Windows server if all you really need is common file storage. ... I have no idea which are good/bad, although I’m pretty sure most are Linux-based....

.NET: The Microsoft anti-Java.

NFG: No F--king Good. Broken beyond hope. Positively malevolent....

NFS: Network File System. Sun Microsystems created this thing in the age of dinosaurs, and today it still connects Linux/Unix computers to each other now and then. ... But, I suspect, it’s gradually being succeeded by Samba — ’though the Linuxoids don’t like to admit it, because of the evil Windows taint....

NIB: The file extension for Next-step Interface Builder, in Apple’s astonishing Xcode environment.

NIC: Network Interface Card; the hardware that connects our PCs together in a seamless web in our LAN.

NiMH: NIckel–Metal Hydride is the current rechargeable flavor of the week, at least among the cameras and little gadgets. They come in various sizes that are supposed to replace standard AA, AAA, and other such batteries, but the NiMH kind has less juice than the regular. And there is a standard “Lithium” non-rechargeable super-battery with more juice than regular.

NRI: National Radio Institute of course, where I learned about obsolete inustrial electronics even in the 60s!

NRPN: “Non Registered Parameter Number” — now there’s a $5 MIDI mumbo-jumbo! ... I thought I knew what this meant, but the Wikipedia article — which, pitifully, is an orphan — tells me I’m wrong, so go read it, and despair. ... Oh wait I get it; it’s an escape sequence consisting of 2 to four CC messages, used for things like specifying up to 16,384 stops on an Allen organ....

NYC: New York City, NY. The hub of the universe, around which all creation revolves in ecstatic adulation. ... If the subways are running, and/or anything else....

OC: Apple’s Objective C.

ODBC: Open DataBase Connectivity: Microsoft’s database domination attempt. I’m pretty sure for at least a while Microsoft tried to divert us to better and more-wonderful object-oriented versions, but now Wikipedia claims it’s open open open — i.e., dead — and Microsoft does seem to have lost interest....

OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer — computer equipment. ... As opposed, I guess, to the scurrilous lurkers who manufacture used equipment?! ... But more likely, as opposed to the dubious merchants whose brand is affixed to the front of the case....

OS: Operating System, of course, and there are so many, each like a snowflake so intricate and beautiful. ... The ancient good ones, like CP/M and MSDOS, the modern evil ones like Windows 8 and Macintosh Mavericks ... and so many more, including the wretched Android and “iOS” iPhone things....

OSI Model: Open Systems Interconnection network obfuscation, a surprisingly-persistent attempt to describe how networks don’t work. It famously has seven layers which obviously don’t correspond to actual computer equipment — oh look, Wikipedia actually notes

In the TCP/IP [web protocol] model of the Internet, protocols are deliberately not as rigidly designed into strict layers as the OSI model. ... RFC 3439 contains a section entitled “Layering [i.e. the OSI idea] considered harmful.”

PA: Public Address, as in loud. That is, there are speakers, hi-fi speakers, studio monitors, PA speakers, and weapons of mass destruction. I got some for my beloved home organ, and then subsequently I was in a supermarket parking lot where they were having an event seemingly involving a hundred foot tall girl — but it was just the PA speakers, turned-up a little too loud....

Paint Program + Image Browsers: Software things like my beloved 1998 PaintShop Pro Version 5, where one can “browse” your hard directory tree for pictures and manipulate what used to be called raster images you find there, pixel-by-pixel, usually photographs, aka “Photoshopping”, a term derived from Adobe’s market-leading product whose terms of sale involve sacrificing one’s first born. Usually included in the Adobe eternal slavery arrangement is their lightroom product, which doesn’t browse (it disorganizes). ... In general the paid-for paint programs are on the decline, since nobody uses cameras anymore, preferring their phones which are crawling with readily-available picture “apps”, and because of the increased presence of free offerings. I still use paint programs because of chronic nostalgia, and I don’t like those ever-enlarging but still tiny phone screens & awful touch keyboards....

THE FREE & SOME OTHERS

Paint.net is a popular free Windows paint program, discussed here, along with many others. And there’s the beloved/free Irfanview and the menacing Gimp is also free (& see my gimp/nik tales of woe). Other obscure free offerings I’ve had even less experience with are the GNUish Azpaint and Mtpaint.

... Both the ($50?) PSPX and Adobe’s kiddy-wheels ($80!?) Elements are fairly awful, but elements is much worse. ... I actually prefer old psps, but PSPX/Elements do raw files.

BROWSING / IMAGE MANAGEMENT

The speedy free Faststone is a photography-oriented image manager — many paint programs include an image management system, like the never-ready-for-prime-time Adobe Elements Disorganizer which, like lightroom, doesn’t browse. Irfanview and Faststone, on the other hand, are free stand-alone programs, with varying bits of image manipulation — but you can install arbitrary paint programs into them (including the free ones above) without that much trouble, and use them at will with a desired image.

XNVIEW

... A late exciting entry in the free image browser sweepstakes is Xnview which is fast, unlike Irfanview’s browser, and can see my Paint Shop Pro files, unlike Faststone. But xnview’s a little buggier than the other two, with occasional 10’’ hang-ups. ... You can right-click an image in Xnview and set-up your external paint program, so that part’s easier. Then you can just go ALT-1, for instance, to invoke the first paint program you added. Except of course when Xnview forgets, which it apparently does now and then. ... And in the astonishing Windows 10, xnview wouldn’t see some raw files, I forget which, but the somewhat slower/clunkier/older/more-elaborate(?) XNVIEW MP would. And then it turned-out the faster XN couldn’t deal with quoted/spaced directory names, essential to my dubious schemes, so I switched entirely to XNMP....

ANNOYANCE

Anyway, a paint program is the most valuable digital camera accessory but of course it’s software, and therefore annoying if not perilous. Sadly, all the paint programs are fiendishly difficult. The “help” invariably sux, and they universally adopt the “palette” metaphor, with a column of cute little painty icons on the left which do not in any way work like their childish pictures might suggest. And they’re worse than useless without all the stuff that modifies their behavior and makes them at all useful, which is always somewhere else beyond the knowledge of mortal help, maybe on the right, but wherever, it’ll be totally intricate and hermetic. Which of course is why I’m still using my 1998 PaintShop Pro Version 5 — which still has features I’ve avoided figuring-out.

... Finally, note that the three free image browsers I’m friends-with — Xnview, Faststone, Irfanview — provide picture “fix-it” facilities which will probably be enough for many mewling newbies, who can always add a more sophisticated free paint program later....

PC: Personal Computer of course. Which denotes a hostile incomprehensibly-technical device no one can operate without fear — MAC, Windows PC, or the beloved and so EZ-to-use Linux....

PCB: Printed Circuit Board. ... Back in the day, purists would complain that they weren’t printed at all; I think the term somehow connoted “cheap” and the excitable adherents of the New Way were trying to con the public into thinking otherwise. ... And they weren’t and aren’t — printed, that is; of course they were cheap, that was the whole point; but also mostly better, since it was hard to match the random wiring faults of human beings. ... But some noxious photographic process is used, or an almost as noxious computer-controlled milling machine cuts the necessary patterns....

PCL: Printer Control Language, the stuff the HP LaserJets printed-with. Those were the days; true HP fanatics could compose directly in the stuff, which had a lot of ampersands as I recall....

PCMCIA: A “Personal Computer Memory Card International Association” MSDOS laptop plug-in card, although they lingered-on into subsequent ages, rechristened as the “PC Card”. See wikipedia....

PDA: Personal Digital Assistant. The Palm Pilot worked. All the others didn’t — which nobody knew until Apple released its iphone and variants, which did. ... And the Palm Pilot really didn’t work either, at least compared to the iphone.

PE: Microsoft’s “Preinstallation Environment”. It used to be something like a pitiful MSDOS command-line interface, but I gather has blossomed into a vast and wonderful thing, with numerous flavors and versions. ... It is used by IT staff to install Windows, see? ... This one is hard for me, because of a strong overlay for “Physical Education”; with which I was always tormented in my misspent youth....

PIP: Peripheral Interchange Program. The appalling way you had to copy files in CP/M. ... As I suspected, the name was stolen from, apparently, the PD6 or so says Wikipedia....

A Pixel is the smallest unit of a graphic image; analogous to a “bit” in the underlying computer sciency stuff, the pixel is typically assumed to be able to show the full-range of colors appearing in the surrounding image. ... “Pixelated” is a useful term for a digital image that’s got visible pixels, usually from being enlarged inappropriately by a non-adept.

A “portal” is an obsolete internet DRM scam that was astonishingly popular for a few years in the mid 90s, probably because of Usux™ who at the dawn of the internet thought we’d sign-up for ’em in droves, so Usux™ could feed us barrels of tasty advertising. Apparently the term has survived as a harmless technical frippery at wikipedia and who knows where else....

POW: The Paramount Organ Works, creator of beautiful virtual theater organs, and major instigator of the VTPO forum.

PR: Public Relations. Corporate communications.

Prime has many meanings, but in photography it apparently refers to a “non-zoom” lens. As Popular Photography innocently insisted, it’s “not a value judgment” (p 53, 2/16) — no, it’s a mendacious marketing term, supposed to explain to gullible idiots why they should buy one or preferably lots....

Privilege: what you get with the UAC.

PS2, PS/2: I don’t know what it means but it was what IBM — oh, look, that’s what it means: it came on their 1987 “Personal System 2”, their pitiful failure to re-proprietize their wildly-successful personal computer open hardware design. Of course! Occasionally I’ve incorrectly used the term to also refer to its predecessor, the larger AT connector, but that’s wrong — they’re not physically compatible, but a simple cable’ll make ’em work, and IBM just changed the physical layout for the purpose of screwing the consumer. So sad. ... Didn’t do ’em any good, as the clone industry took-up the PS/2 form — smaller, cheaper — before abandoning the whole thing for USB....

PSA: Public Service Announcement — that is, advertising paid for with your taxes. It always supports things that all decent people support fervently, if they know what’s good for them....

R&D: Research and Development is what high-tech companies spend their money on, until they run out.

RAD: Rapid Application Development environment. I used to think it meant an IDE that speeds-up program development by doing something about the program’s GUI code, but ... I have since learned the proper definition is “any guru-linked scheme that has something to do with software” (see Wikipedia). ... I must say, I am so disappointed. ... But there you go; the comp biz may get around to finding an acronym for the automation of GUI composition, but I’m not waiting: see GUIRAD.

RAM: Random Access Memory. And on my equipment, it’s particularly random! ... No no they really meant “arbitrary”: access to any location in RAM is supposed to take exactly the same amount of time which, hopefully, is real fast, since this is where all the programs run from, more-or-less....

A raw image is a file of uncompressed or at least non-lossy picture data, usually in a proprietary manufacturer’s format — as opposed to the crude barbaric highly-compressed lossy JPG image. As noted in my thoughtful treatment of HDR, kindly merchants ’n’ magazines used to relentlessly promote the hard drive byte-consuming raw images before, tragically, everything got too cheap. Be sure to see my further illuminating thoughts....

RINO: Republican In Name Only. I.e., a member of the progressive communist democratic party.

RTOS: Real Time Operating System. These were flogged relentlessly in the embedded systems world and constituted a major advertising source for the publications before they all died. The idea is you’re faced with some challenging project with megabytes of contemplated code, so instead of going amateur night and rolling your own, you’re supposed to buy one of these — although there are open-source/free examples available too. I am obviously not the only one who feels no particular attraction to these systems, but then I suspect I’m already off their radar since most of my embedded work has been in assembler instead of decent high-level C.

RWRP: Reverse Wired Reverse Polarity q.v.

S&H: Astonishingly-exorbitant sums that that the merry merchants used to clip the mail-order consumer for — and some, of course, still do. The “shipping” part is almost intelligible, although usually bogus, but the “handling” element has amazed and confused many through the years, with no presentable excuse. I believe the rough translation is “whatever we can get away with”....

The S100 bus is a sacred relic of my golden formative years in the micro biz and was the heart and soul of the microcomputers we labored-over, although it was my overwhelming impression even then that the only thing anybody did with these things was design/debug other computer equipment. Anyway it had 100 pins of course, and was an implementation/extension of the 8080 signal bus, supposedly designed to buffer and organize things so one could plug fantastically-useful S100 cards into the thing. And sometimes you could....

SAAS: Software As A Service: bringing the suppleness and agility of your web experience to the desktop.

SAMBA: It doesn’t mean anything, but was chosen randomly to denote the Linux software that can communicate with Windows’ SMB “Server Message Block” protocol — i.e. so Windows clients can see files on Linux computers (and vice versa). Invented by Andrew Tridgell.

A sampler is a gadget wildly popular a decade or two ago which could record (sometimes) and play/manipulate recorded audio. The monstrous ancient and beloved-of-rock-gods “Melltron” actually did this on bits of tape, and I believe there was an even-earlier device that used LPs or perhaps 78s. A more recent incarnation was the Casio SK-1, which sadly lacked any way to save the recorded sound. ... Anyway, samplers used solid state memory and could play the samples at different pitches, usually via the primitive means of slowing/speeding-up the playback. All this functionality — and more — is usually included within the PC-based DAW these days....

SATA: Serial ATA. ... Today’s hard drive interface cable standard.

Scamware, also known as C--pware or Bloatware, is a term of art referring to the malodorous gunk supplied with your new Windows computer which you should usually try to get rid-of, although naturally the vendor has no desire to assist you in that. A variant is the Scamloader, a term which I apparently made up, but which the world is much in need-of, describing a program you are obliged to use to download some desirable program which, along with the desirable program, attempts to install scamware, with varying degrees of duplicity, misdirection, and criminality....

Typical scamware will, in an endless variety of ingenious ways, attempt to separate you from your money, ranging from under-handed subscription rackets to fairly harmless “sign-up” schemes so your email address can be sold to the low-lifes of the earth. ... These are all efforts by vendors to scam the inexperienced; to punish the weak, and of course are routinely used or at least sanctioned by the highest-minded computer industry merchants. The anti-virus people, for instance, are major offenders; and of course Microsoft, whose “desktop bing bar” was offered as a “system upgrade” for quite a while, and no doubt installed by many clueless innocents. ... Oddly, Apple, the most successful personal computer company on earth, didn’t do this stuff. Or at least they didn’t use to, until the wild success of their iCloud racket induced them to try and scam their users into signing-up....

Scamware differs from Malware only in degree, with the latter contemplating criminal felonies — i.e., “zombifying” your PC — while the former only promotes misdemeanors and/or civil penalties if they get caught....

Science is the Holy Spirit of Our Age, the determinant of all things. ... Unless you’re a loathsome beneath-dirt “Science Denier” — for instance, wondering why they changed the name from “Global Warming” to “Republican Climate Change” — and thus place yourself outside the pale, whereupon any liberal may deny your food and water....

SCM: Either “Source Control Management” — Linus Torvalds — or “Software Configuration Management” — almost everyone else. ... I presume Torvalds has the original old definition, and the TLA degenerated into the broader definition, which can basically mean anything....

Scrubbing [in a DAW] mimcs the way a tape machine can be rocked back and forth” (p 94 SOS 2/11) i.e. to find a spot in the music by listening.

SD: “Secure Digital” card (supposedly nothing to do with “SanDisk”), most famously the modern digital camera “film”, but used for all the things we used to use the pitiful floppy discs for, but of course we don’t use them anyway anymore. ... It’s a relatively tiny little rectangular thing, 1“ x 1½” or so, unlike the monstrously huge compact flash it replaced. ... Then of course there’s the even ridiculously-tinier micro SD card, which somehow fell by the wayside; I believe its major role in our tattered world was to service those awful cameras in the phones, until the iphone beat them up. ... And then I realized the “secure” is like WEP or the ancient Service Merchandise: denoting a desired consumer attribute with a laughable promotional name. The SD cards notoriously wear-out after a certain number of writes, or maybe when they feel like it. The more sophisticated renditions are “wear-leveled” — the no-longer writeable parts are swapped with the dwindling supply of parts that still work — and this is done by a tiny microprocessor inside the chip, so you know it’s secure. ... Some computers have a specific SD port, but often a “USB SD card reader” will be required, <$10 @ amazon.com; similar price for a 16GB “class 10” (fast) SD card. ... And of course like everything else in our glittery with-it computery world introduced in the last decade or so, they don’t work so good....

SLR: A clever pre-war german camera invention strangely devolved into today’s DSLR, Digital Single Lens Reflex”, a beloved (?) stupidly-expensive camera flavor. The “single” refers to the avoidance of an additional viewfinder lens mechanism and “reflex” would be the beautiful flipping mirror, for “reflection”? Except Digital SLR Photography for Dummies says it’s the flipping movement? ... Anyway, for years I assumed the digital flavor was pure fiction, but then I bothered Wikipedia — and learned the DSLR is actually an expensive digital camera with an intricate tiny mechanical mirror mechanism through which the pathetically-addled deluxe camera fan (aka skilled photographic professional aka pitiful senile geezer boomer) can see the image; then, when he presses the button, it flips out of the way and lets the electronic sensor have its turn.

BUT IT WORKED GOOD WITH CHEMICAL FILM

The chemical-film flipping-mirror SLR of yore was a wonderful thing, because that way you got to see exactly what the film would see, which was otherwise impossible.

It’s extremely stupid with electronic cameras, since the electronic sensor can be connected to an electronic viewer, like the LCDs commonly used on millions of cheap digital cameras since 1996 at least: a bright display on the back to exhaust the batteries instantaneously, and/or a miniature electronic viewfinder gadget so you can take pictures in sunlight and/or for more than 10 minutes indoors.

No doubt in the primitive dawn of the DSLR a decent EVF was technically challenging, but those days soon ended, and the electronic display is undoubtedly a better indicator than the stupid mirror, because you get to see the exact electronic image that’ll be saved to the electronic film — including defects which the cunning mirror will totally ignore. The Digital SLR serviced the already-dwindling geriatric camera throngs so they’d hear that reassuring “click” when they take a picture and know they’re seeing the “real thing”, not some dubious new-fangled electronic gimmickry. ... Indeed, the clicking sound is reproduced by millions of point ’n’ shoot cameras, presumably to make the rest of us even more gullible geezers feel good about the things — my iPhone does it!

DEAD VIEW

... And then, an article in an 8/08 PCPlus (page 38) celebrated “Real-time photo data” in top-of-the-line DSLRs! Aka “Live View”.... I.e., the utterly standard “digital compact camera” LCD — which even I had used for years! — was coming to super-expensive DSLR products. ... The article breathlessly divulged that the advanced camera enthusiast/professional could now at last take advantage of this years-old technology — with expensive trickery of course, since that little flipping mirror gadget is still in the way. ... Wowsers! ... I do feel myself groping for ways to express the surpassing astonishing stupidity of all this; but I am weak....

DSLR INTERCHANGEABLE LENSES

It is also often implied in the wandering byways of internet disinformation that you need a “DSLR” if you want changeable lenses — the latter arguably a useful feature even in our rushing-forward never-stopping digital age (although perhaps not so much anymore). ... But there is no reason a camera without a stupid expensive totally unnecessary flipping mirror can’t have changeable lenses; some did even in the age of chemical film, but those also had to have some kind of changeable/alternative viewfinder gadgetry. The electronic viewfinders have no such limitation — hence the stupidity of the DLSR/changeable lenses ignorant/fraudulent linkage.

APOLOGIA

With my middle-of-the-road right-wing-lunatic hat on, I suppose I should note that the camera makers are hardly the arch villains here. They respond to a market, in this case, pitiful geezers with money who want that single lens reflex thingey. It’s just like democracy, where idiots can vote for the demagogue or demagoguette who promises the most treats, no matter how dubious. ... It is certainly true that merchants lie when promoting their products; unlike Holy Socialism where everything is fair and fun. ... And the lying suck-up magazines are much more guilty; although even then, the geezers buy them — I buy them, and enjoy every puffy page — at least until the last issue departs into the wandering wastes of the internet and/or I can’t stand it anymore, whichever comes first. ... So it’s not marketing hype; it’s gadget-lust hype....

But then again, a DPreview throwback thursday all but apologized for dissing the Jan. 2010 Samsung NX10, with its crummy mirrorless design. Samsung later left the fading camera biz quietly, but DPreview’s contrite — because, although they’d never admit it, they’re embarrassed at supporting the flipping-mirror scam so enthusiastically. Because, maybe the camera biz would’ve been a little less sclerotic if real electronic cameras were promoted, instead of the moldering SLR technology of a previous age....

THE MIRRORLESS SUNSET

1/16: But at last the DSLR scam is winding-down. A magical conjuration I’ve seen is “mirrorless” which doesn’t exactly say that all those years of digital cameras with flipping mirrors were embarrassing scammery, but is always puffed as a super-feature thingey — like Holy Science has at last figured-out how to avoid scamming the foto fan hordes. By selling a camera exactly like the millions of lesser point ’n’ shoots sold for years. ... A particularly modérne DSLR problem, as they get to ever higher (i.e. ridiculous) megapixel resolutions, is the flipping mirror jiggles the camera. Of course you can’t actually photograph 50 million (Canon 5DSR, $4,900 2/16) in-focus pixels anyway, at least handheld — but with the flipping mirror (+ mechanical shutter presumably) there’s trouble even with a tripod ... So the “Sony Alpha 7R II” with its measly 42mp doesn’t got a mirror. ... “The Future Of Digital Imaging ... And A World Beyond DSLR” says the Sony ad (p 17 Popular Photography 1/16). The new FLA is MILC: Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera. ... At last. ... And in commemoration of these stirring times, the laboratory has, at last, purchased its first DSLR — of about the vintage of the PCPlus annunciation....

DELUSIONAL RANTS

... And just as I’m dreaming-up these delusional rants, confirmation comes from an unimpeachable source: the super-puffery C|NET (print) magazine, Winter 2015 p 34, “Ditch Your dSLR”! And the first option is (drum roll): MIRRORLESS! ... In red type. ... Am I in touch with the zeitgeist, or what!?!?!? ... The magazine had some of the stupidest product puffs, adoring in every case the most-expensive silliest choice with eerie consistency, and their après-DSLR recommendations conform to that glorious ideal — which makes it all the more remarkable, really: the DSLR has gotten so dubious that even highly dedicated puffsters are starting to jump ship. ... And googling for “dslr mirror” does not enlighten. I got “discussions” where ignorant people voiced their thoughtful delusions, and one discussion was actually “closed as primarily opinion-based”. Nowhere can one find any rational excuse for the DSLR flipping-mirror scam. ... And indeed the supposedly new new new mirrorless cameras are in fact just the normal non-dslr cameras the usual suspects have been flogging for years, with of course extra special extreme featuriti$. ... That is, just like my silly camera collection, except much more expensive. ... Well, & with the interchangable lenses....

THE SHUTTER: MECHANICAL, ELECTRONIC

Along with the beautiful flipping mirror, upper-class cameras have mechanical shutters, which I’ve hardly bothered heaping with scorn. As with the beautiful mirror, googling will find many clueless colloquies. The shutter motion might be erroneously described as “horizontal” — apparently 1930s SLRs had such, with two solid pieces on either side of the film focal plane that’d slide out and over the film. Later more advanced shutters were formed from two sets of horizontal slats which collapsed during exposure, exposing the film through the opening between them which traveled vertically, which is why defective fast exposure “jello” shows thing distorted vertically sideways in normal “vertical” exposures — i.e. with the camera held normally, with the viewfinder on top....

The original digital cameras were SLRs with expensive electronic “film” attachments, and naturally the mechanical shutters and SLR mirrors of the golden olden days are obviously superior to the dubious electronic thing-a-ma-jigs sold since then in millions of cheapo declassé consumer cameras. ... But the heretical new mirrorless cameras come with mechanical and electronic shutters, at least the Fujifilm X-T1 and Olympus E-M5 II puffed @ Digital Camera 3/16 page 101, and the electronic shutter is not only quieter, but usually multiples faster than the mechanical: 1/32,000 versus 1/4,000 for the X-T1, and the Olympus 1/16,000 vs 1/8,000.

SMD: Surface Mount Device. Apparently an annoying little spec of plastic which you’d usually brush off your cuff, but in fact an exciting IC in modern technology form. Enthusiasts are so proud of this stuff they concocted the popular alias SMT (etc. Technology) in an effort to confuse and confound ignorant peasants like myself. ... Also used in this elevated quest: SO: Small-Outline. SOIC: Small-Outline Integrated Circuit. SOP: Small-Outline Package. SSOP: Shrink Small-Outline Package. TSSOP: Thin-Shrink Small Outline Package. It’s like they were just trying to confuse, isn’t it? ... I can actually “remember” something about the Thin/Shrink nonsense: in the days of TTL, there were 20-pin LSI ICs which were vast, at least compared to the svelte 16-pin guys; and then there were thin 20-pin bus buffers, like the 240. The thin/shrink whatever are the SMD equivalent wacko variations. More of them of course. ... And be sure to see my rambling complaints about how to solder these things by hand....

SMP: Symmetrical Multi Processing, the advanced new technology which will support 2,000 users simultaneously on your PC. ... Sadly they haven’t figured-out how to do much else; see my exciting revelations. ... The “Symmetrical” means we’re talking multiple more-or-less identical hardware entities working together; your PC — heck, your cellphone — is already a hotbed of parallel hardware, from the wretched thing in your keyboard to graphics chips modems etc. ... But they all perform specific different tasks — which is why, in general, they’re more useful to you than 2,048 cores in your SMP gadget....

SOA: Service-Oriented Architecture. Careful testing at the laboratories indicates that this is total guru-driven BS. ... Instead of sensibly writing one giant program in assembly language, the idea is you’ll have web servers all over the place offering services. ... Like Human Resources might provide an employee records service, or manufacturing could have a widgits-made-today service. Then anyone in the company can use these services to provide purpose-built software for any old purpose you can just lash up in a moment....

SOS: Sound on Sound, what we used to do with our tape recorders to “track” — to add another part to an existing recording on a multitrack tape recorder. With a three-head machine, this required some kind of special “sync” switch to playback the existing sound from the record head. ... Also, Sound on Sound magazine, an inspiring and unequalled monthly tour of music industry puffery....

SoundFont: Wikipedia says it’s an E-mu Systems registered trademark; or see my hyper-factual history. ... It appears to be an obsolete format only used by children and small animals — and me, of course — ’n’ Miditzer — but the idea is you load-up your SoundFont into a sound player (like SFZ player), and then your MIDI-emitting keyboard will play the sounds in the font flawlessly....

SP: Service Pack; an organized software upgrade. Notoriously, the mechanism by which Microsoft makes its operating systems nominally less dangerous than the initial release. And slower of course....

SPL: Sound Pressure Level, in decibels. Speaker loudness is often rated with this measure, but as Wikipedia says, “the distance of the measuring microphone from a sound source is often omitted when SPL measurements are quoted, making the data useless”.

SQL: Standard Query Language. The venerable database language which has done so much for so many. ... Pronounced for some reason “SEKEL” by old hands; I have always shunned such pretension and am content to pronounce it ES-KEW-EL, i.e. like any normal TLA. The Standard Query Language comes in about five million flavors, none of which are compatible with each other....

SSD: $olid $tate Drive, and you’re nobody until you got one....

Stab: a short percussive noise, used in a DAW. A “beat”. Often pitched, and often loud. I.e., not a “loop”.

1. “A Stem is a submix of a group of tracks, such as guitars or backing vocals [in a DAW]. By creating multiple stems, and essentially reducing your main mix elements down to just a handful of faders, you can make a big mix much easier to deal with. Stem mixing is also essential for those who like to get their [DAW] mixes out into ... a summing box” (p 124 SOS 2/11)....

2. The acronym STEM stands for “Science Technology Engineering and Math”, sacred unspeakably-desirable fields for which all young people must yearn until their hearts break. Despite the regrettable likelihood that no one will pay them much to do these things, America will never be great again unless vast new herds of recruits flock to the STEM banner. This is particularly the view of the various selfless companies who employ such, who use the quaint socialist term “shortage” to describe their availability which, roughly translated, means they want to get paid too much — but don’t we all? ... For some reason the Holy Socialist Obama government was in on the scam, but simple bribery explains that easily-enough, and tech companies are all card-carrying socialist suck-ups, so perhaps it’s just a marriage made in Nothingness by the Great Nullity. ... And oh yes mathematicians can get some real money from those evil wall street types sometimes; and even the occasional programmer, which latter aren’t even officially in the STEM for some reason; STEMP?.... Ren &?

STL: C++ Standard Template Library, a fiendishly-clever assortment of macro-like code that supposedly provides programmers easy-to-use lists and collections. See my thoughtful reflections.

StupidMedia: Flash memory film technology concocted by Toshiba and exploited by Olympus and other dubious vendors (Fuji Samsung PNY Sandisk), and branded “SmartMedia”, in the usual lie-about-the-obvious, i.e. as in “Service Merchandise”, a brick-and-mortar catalog store without any detectable service — comparably, SmartMedia, unlike CompactFlash and SD, has no built-in intelligence, and consequently corrupts more easily.

A “Summing Box” is “basically a mixer with every function stripped away ... except the summing bus. It just combines the already-mixed signals into a 2-track, the claim to fame being that digital summing (ie. rendering from your DAW) doesn’t sound as good as doing it on, say, a SSL desk [Solid State Logic ridiculously expensive h/w mixer]. One of those high-end things that even the high-end guys don’t really agree over.... Some say the difference is day and night, some say it doesn’t matter much at all” (FutureProducers). ... This doesn’t really explain anything, does it? I will try: the idea is that some delusional people think electrons get magic when they are run through analog circuits, even totally passive analog circuits, and the summing box is supposed to do that for your DAW....

A through-hole PCB is a decent honest circuit board with unpretentious holes drilled all the way through it, to accommodate the pins of DIP ICs and even more antiquated components like transistors and diodes. As opposed to the fiendish modérne SMD flavors of today’s kids....

Thunderbolt is the Apple more-or-less proprietary connection technology of the week (last week’s was displayport). So it was originally announced to great fanfare as “Light Peak”, but that was before Intel ’n’ Apple discovered to their apparent amazement that optical cable/hardware is still ridiculously expensive, too costly even for the Macintosh, even the super ridiculous new strange-looking pro desktop. But Wikipedia explains that “light” stuff was just a codename, silly scoffer. ... Anyway, to make up for it, Thunderbolt cables still require circuitry built into the cable, so they’re still ridiculously expensive. ... And they aren’t really proprietary — just like Firewire before it, Apple’ll happily sign-up any interested party, so long as they’re adequately intere$ted. ... A handy clue to Apple’s not-a-proprietary connection technology of the week heading out to pasture: prices fall on the once-splendiferous implementing gadgets. ... And this just in: a recent Apple laptop offering came without any thunderbolt connectivity at all! Just a super-new USB 3 port. I think that marks the sunset of that scam technology; so sad, so young....

TIF: Tagged Image File format, an uncompressed raster aka photographic image file format of antedeluvian times.

TLA: Three Letter Abbreviation. This is more useful than you might think; of course there’s also FLA. The beautiful and gracious LOL credits these abbreviation insights to lawyer Tom Rund, who acquired the precious inner knowledge at the generous behest of the U.S. military, who also proffered FFLA: F---ing Five Letter Abbreviation....

TPO: A TLA used by Theater Pipe Organ snobs to make me feel ignorant. ... I mean, who can remember what the heck the “P” stands for? And who cares? ... Since the mesozoic, ATOS has got along fine without the stupid “pipe”! ... The point is, of course, it’s a sin to use one of those electronic (scoff scoff sneer sneer) things. ... Like I do; but I try to make up for it with incompetent performances....

A TROLL is a creature what lurks on a forum or other internet gathering spot and springs-up with ridiculous harsh criticism of innocent participants, with dubious or completely bogus reasons. They usually assume a faked air of experience, knowledge and authority, the better to hurt their victims. ... I.e., a typical internet user....

TSR: Terminate and Stay Resident. What Real Men programmed in MSDOS; the original Sidekick was a monstrous example — you could start it up from inside any normal DOS program! ... What fun it was! ... Then the Real Operating Systems came along, where programs normally run as long as they want while other programs are running and all that stuff....

TTL: Transistor Transistor Logic. A particular flavor, but used casually to refer to the vast hordes of ICs of the Golden Age (~1965-1990). .... I.e., there was a 7400 NAND (Not AND) implemented in TTL, and then a faster lower-power 74LS00 flavor, and then onward and outward, but each flavor with the same last digits implementing the same logic function. I.e., the 7414, LS14, HC14, H14 etc., all implemented a schmitt triggerized version of the ’04 hex inverter. And we’d refer vaguely to this assortment as “TTL logic”....

T-SQL: Terminally-Stupid Query Language. ... Well, no, that’s just my little witticism. ... The term showed-up suddenly in a few of the pitiful remaining computer magazines @ 11/08 without the slightest excuse — i.e., “you stupid fool you didn’t go to our seminars or conferences or anything and you’re totally ignorant! ... By context, T-SQL appeared to mean “SQL”, but supposedly it really means, at least according to wikipedia, “Transact-SQL”. ... Which, as far as I can figure-out, means “SQL”. ... To be sure, with all the little syntax uniquities that make any particular SQL dialect totally incompatible and non-portable as opposed to any other but, I mean, presumably all those fancy SQL servers were already transaction empowered — where “transaction” means multi-task transaction, so your credit card doesn’t get clobbered when you and your bank insist on beating on it simultaneously....

Turing Test: This guy who led a successful decoding effort against the Nazis and was a premature homosexual, unfortunately living and dying before compulsory gay marriage, was a great brain and wrote stuff, including some thoughts about an AI test where the gadget’d pass if human auditors, communicating through a teletype or some other way that obscured the biology of the thing, would be fooled. Idiots of our time have interpreted this as a rigorous defintion of an actual test procedure.

UAC: Windows (since Vista) User Account Control: the moronic robot who dims the screen and ostentatiously calls your attention to possible security infractions. I think it’s somewhere in “Control Panel / User Accounts” you can turn it off; although you mustn’t, and indeed I don’t. ... There’s a wonderful free command-line gadget for requesting privilege, so I can put a link into a batch file like “elevate stupidprogram” and it’ll do the robot dance and, if you consent, run the program with dangerous privileges.

UML: 1. Unified Modeling Language. Incredibly advanced comp-sci something. Actually, a glorified flow chart. And, as has happened so many times before, any day now you will be able to just cook up your UML stuff, and the program will write itself! 2. User Mode Linux is probably not what you had in mind.

UNC: Universal (or Uniform) Naming Convention: a file path containing “\\” (in Windows) as a way of referring to something on the network — not on your local computer; “c:\elsecoms\bong.bat” is a batch file on this computer; “\\xp300\c\elsecoms\bong.bat” is a batch file on the xp300 computer, wherever that is. See wikipedia for endless elaboration....

UPS: Uninterruptible Power Supply — often a container for dead batteries; like flashlights. ... When not occupied that way, they keep the computer on when your power company decides to rearrange the extension cords. ... Note that the idea is not to keep working; the idea is for the UPS to provide enough power for an orderly shutdown, and then go to a motel and await the power company’s mercies. ... There are presumably UPSes designed to continue operation, but I think expecting that from the things one finds in the computer stores is unduly optimistic....

URL: Uniform Resource Locator: a web address like “http://owenlabs.org”. Apparently too many people understood it, so the up-to-date gobbledygook has shifted to URI Uniform Resource Identifier, which is so much more chic and refined.

USB: Universal Serial Bus. ... Once, there was RS-232, a designation which means nothing, and it connected our computers and printers and modems together, and almost never worked. ... Actually it connected my printers together and of course, in that case, worked flawlessly. ... So USB was born, which works frequently — if you devote adequate technical development attention to it, which can be briefly summarized as “a lot”. ... Anyone else — i.e. the kind of slugs who used to connect their stuff with RS-232 — need not apply. ... And strangely, even ’though USB has conquered and triumphed for years, and the latest PCs don’t have RS-232 ports, the old ways still lived-on in my industrial world. ... USB/RS-232 adapter gadgets are $9.99 @ amazon, so RS-232-less computers can use the stuff....

This peculiar persistence might have something to do with that strange arcane technical parameter known as “price”, i.e. RS-232 was and is much cheaper than USB — at least to design into your gadget. ... Like everything else in our wonderful computery world, USB is of course obsolete — that’d be our beloved USB version 2; USB 1 is so obsolete your grandmother spits on it — no, now we have USB 3, so much faster, so much better, and of course perfectly compatible with all that went before! ... How could you doubt?!?!

To tell a USB 3 socket on a PC from a regular boring old thing, you peer into the socket — I use magnifying cheaters and a flashlight — and look for 5 little short metal strips nearest you. This should be in addition to the larger, further, four metal strips of your everyday old-fashioned boring USB PC socket. They used to color the USB 3 sockets blue, but apparently that wasn’t confusing/annoying enough, so now they all look the same on casual inspection....

USB “mini” and “micro”: Until recently, I was convinced there was a “mini” USB 3 style plug, which was used to connect my swarms of USB hard drives. But apparently, like the illustration, they’re called “Micro-B”. The USB 2 flavor had mini and micro plugs, the latter notoriously adopted by pioneering Amazon where many an innocent has been introduced to our mavelous world of technology while trying to somehow plug the stupid cable into a Kindle. All the USB 2 hard drives, at least for quite a while, have used the mini plug; but apparently not in USB 3, where at least the “Micro-B” plug is heftier, because of its increased width. But not backward compatible with the cable you probably use for your USB 2 hard drives. So I guess you can plug your USB 3 hard drive into a Kindle charger, you lucky people. ... Well, I tested a USB2 micro cable with a USB3-equipped hard drive, and that seemed to work.

USB HUB: A USB port expander gadget: one end plugs into a USB port on a computer, and then the gadget has two or more USB ports to connect more gadgets. Hubs are particularly useful with laptops, but are found wherever lots of USB gadgets congregate. ... There are at least two hub flavors: powered (good), and unpowered (bad); often the same gadget’ll be sold in two versions. Then there are the ambiguous and unknown, which may include a power supply, but it’s not quite clear if they have enough; typically found in the larger-count flavors. ... USB is supposed to avoid catching on fire or melting, but when power runs-out, some gadgets won’t work, sometimes in surprisingly original ways....

UUID: A Universally Unique IDentifier of course you ignorant mortal! All us geeks fling these things around like popcorn. This site’ll generate ’em so you can get the drift and never ask again....

VB: Visual Basic of course. The original Windows EZ-programming environment, perfected in my beloved Delphi Pascal rip-off.

VCA: Voltage-Controlled Ampifier. So you can could control the volume of the tone in a synthesizer, for the ADSR EG, or whatever....

VGA: Video Graphics Array. This is the standard by which all most of my displays connect to my zoo of computers, and probably maybe yours, and is therefore totally obsolete. It was superceded generations ago by HDMI, DVI, and, special this week only, Apple’s brilliant DisplayPort — wait wait, that’s Thunderbolt now; isn’t it? ... A VGA cable connector looks kind-of like an RS-232 D15 thing, except with three rows of pins. Of course only the dead know the D15; much less its glorious confounding predecessor the D25. ... Tough....

VGA also stands for the beloved graphics resolution which its advanced technology implemented, the sacred 640x480 pixel display....

I see I haven’t yet defined the beloved Windows ME and Vista. ... Vista doesn’t mean anything, but “ME” stands for “Millennium Edition”, such an appropriate sigil of mediocrity for the giant stupid monopoly. Both OSs were vile and despised by millions, such is the astonishing success of Microsoft in competing with nobody and, in a strangely-recurrent pattern, they were followed by almost-working contraptions, which looked so much better by contrast, XP and Windows 7. The latter has now been followed by the ridiculously-execrable Windows 8, which no doubt — although I won’t hold my breath — will be followed in its turn by something that kind-of works....

VCL: The beloved Delphi Visual Component Library, that was going to make all our lives anew, back in 1995 or so, with beautiful EZ-to-use Visual gadgets one could just paste onto one’s Windows form. ... And one could; and it was good....

Viewfinder: The camera feature one holds up to one’s eye, through which one can “compose” one’s beautiful photographs, particularly in the high-end DSLRs et al. Putatively low-end — under $1000 apparently — “point ’n’ shoot” cameras have all but abandoned the feature, making such cameras useless for taking pictures in sunlight since the LCD washes out, just like your phone, which probably takes pictures almost as good. On the other hand, “normal” people find the traditional viewfinder incredibly difficult and the LCD so EZ. ... For the 3 or four times they actually use the camera. ... And on the third hand, the camera puffery still hides the missing viewfinder; amazon’s pages will sometimes have 8 or ten pictures, but still never show the back of the camera. Which clearly indicates to me anyway that at least some victims customers are scammed into buying the viewfinderless things....

Virtual” in our modérne a-go-go computering world means “unreal”. As in “based on software”. The are VSTs and VSTIs, and there are “virtual servers” in the cloud, and VTPOs....

VST: Virtual Studio Technology — which usually refers to a software gadget you plug into your DAW, which modifies the sound like a compressor or equalizer. And a VSTi is of course a VST Instrument; something that makes sounds, like an imitation synthesizer, from a MIDI input, typically....

VTPO, VTO: Virtual Theater Pipe Organ, Virtual Theater Organ, beloved of the VTPO forum, once so active & opinionated, wallowing in endless info about their beloved Hauptwerk Paramount virtual organs with perilously-authentic and expen$ive theater organ consoles and audio systems, + harmless computer myths and fantasies. And occasional abuse for heretics outside the law of the Holy Hauptwerk, & a mournful demonstration of the flakiness of Yahoo Groups. ... Without Yahoo’s help, the Miditzer forum is more functional, and actually informative about its topic area Miditzer. Also gratifyingly still with us is the Organ forum, probably the most generally useful, although mostly Hammond; and see the also-played....

XQD: A bogu$ totally-proprietary “digital film” super-fast flavor. Not backward compatible with anything, including compact flash or SD.

WEP: Wired Equivalent Privacy. ... Ha! Now that’s funny; this is the old wildly-reviled form of wireless non-security, and of course I never knew what the letters meant. ... It’s puffery! It’s an advertisement: wireless just like wired! ... Sure, absolutely....

Windows: ... Golly how the years go by! I realized some of my vast readership might well have no idea what a “windows” operating system was, since Microsoft’s been convulsing so poignantly in these degenerate latter days. But it came after MSDOS, and introduced us all to the wonderful world of strikingly-unreliable GUI computery and beauty. ... And has arrived at last at its ultimate form, the sacred ever-updating Windows 10, as its market share slips ever-so-quietly into the mists....

WordStar: For the children in the audience, WordStar was a neolithic word-processing / text editor program that dominated the primitive computer world in a long-ago era. ... The WordStar “diamond” aka the cursor movement keys control-E, S, D, and X are still fondly remembered — and used, in my case — by hundreds. ... A story in the British Linux Format recently celebrated the talented WordStar-influenced Joe’s Own Editor’s help screens, available at the touch of a keystroke — but apparently not realizing the feature was inherited from the original CP/M WordStar! ... And was that a revelation in the 1983 MSDOS version!

WPA: Wi-fi Protected Access. The successor to the defective WEP, and already reviled in its turn, although from the Wikipedia story it’s maybe OK if certain arcane settings are correct or something — notably, your encryption algorithm should be the advanced AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), not the discredited and pitiful TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol — who knew time travel was involved?). Not to be confused, at least I did, with your PSK (Pre-Shared Key) which all decent home wireli got. ... And be sure to check out the Wikipedia “talk page” for the lucid clarity and unanimity of the Wikipedeans on the subject. ... In the merrily slipshod tradition of modern technology, WPA doesn’t really work that well, or at least is noticeably cranky on even recent Windows 7 machines, although I got my pitiful mewling herd of XP to W7 things to eventually connect, but not necessarily every one every time, all the time, or even for a long time. ... The imini of course works perfectly. ... And then there’s apparently WPA2 so much better I’m sure....

George Wright (8/20/20-5/10/98), the supreme theater organist. His work is not necessarily appreciated by all the organistas, probably because of his relentless humor which the more spiritually-minded may find distressing. Wright made fun of the theater organ and its typical repertoire while playing it brilliantly, with consummate ability.

ZIF: Zero-Insertion Force, usually a socket, i.e. so one can put a chip in it and take it out and put in another without overly stressing the chip or the socket. They were used in the Golden Age on EPROM burners. ... But of course there are no more EPROMs, nor pins to insert, in our brave new world. ... But we can still burn old-fashioned flash CPU parts in them. ... Well, not the SMD ones of course....

A zoom lens is a wonderful gadget that’ll magnify the picture you take with your camera at your command. Today’s standard camera — your phone — probably doesn’t have one, but instead uses Digital Zoom. But the lovely vanishing DSLRs got ’em all over for only $400 and up, and the cruddy cameras without changeable lenses often come with a zoom lens — like my beloved antique Kodak zoomer. A non-zoom lens is described as “fixed” which sounds kind-of low-rent in the endless puffery of the camera propagandists, so it typically gets flogged by the valuable-sounding sobriquet “prime”.


The Years of Microsoft: Owen Relents

I was coding away at Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2005 Beta 2 and I realized: these folks are peddling as fast they can! ... I mean I really haven’t done much with NET, and I was struck by how even today the RAD is noticeably inferior to Delphi — a product from a company that couldn’t be more on the ropes! ... I mean Microsoft hired-away the Delphi guru himself Anders Hejlsberg to do NET!

... Also I was struck by the pictures of models posing as programmers that decorate the endless VSß installation: they were all furriners! ... I mean, America is still the exploding pot, so they could be muricans — but no average blondish low-browed type even remotely like myself, even when I was young and thin, was included. ... And indeed, when I googled for various NET obscurities, whole pages were half ideographs! I saw one I think in Farsi! ... If anybody thinks this means Microsoft is fat and happy — well of course they are f&h by the pathetic and latter-day standards of most of us in the software biz — but there are clouds ahead, and they, like us all, quail before the storm. ... This NET thing certainly isn’t working out the way they hoped; it’s not so much the NET technology good or bad, it’s just that the way things are going, nobody’s writing great piles of software anymore, at least for PCs, not like they used to. Everyone’s outsourcing everything to strange foreign lands, and maybe Microsoft will somehow adjust to this completely different market, with different rules and most notably much lower prices — or maybe the Americans will finally rear-up and stop that evil outsourcing. ... And maybe pigs will fly. ...

The Years of Pain

Of course Microsoft has been toweringly annoying over the years, and I have been annoyed. ... But in my dotage, I must concede, what fun we’ve had! ... I mean, gee, sure Gate’s might be a little over-monopolistic — but I lived through the CP/M era and worse, and as far as I know, Gary Kildall was a nice guy. ... And after all, you can always buy a Macintosh! (As we did eventually!) ... So I’m going to stop the ritual Microsoft bashing ... mostly because I guess I’m tired of it. ... Then of course, however bleak the days ahead, Microsoft still has lots of money and they might give me some!

Windows versus Linux

I just can’t pretend any more that the Linux desktop, for instance, is obviously superior to Windows — au contraire, and so I’ve left my whining about Linux in these pages, since by now that’s the minority hard-to-find opinion. ... The truth is, the Windows desktop is still incomparably superior to Linux: for the little people, yes, and even for idiots — oops, “skilled professionals” — like me who want to play with software and write programs and maybe occasionally make a little spare change. ... On the other hand, I suspect the future still holds ever-increasing hordes of Linux servers which, usually, don’t have desktops. ...

The Experts: System.IO.Ports.SerialPort

But I can still rip the gurus! ... Each one filled with glittering wisdom, incredible insights for NET pilgrims. ... I could hear the locust-like humming on the web, as they swarmed to feed — maybe Beta 2 will open the flood gates, they murmur! ... Flood the parched desert with money at last! ... One particularly egregious — but I must say nevertheless unintentionally helpful — suspect had a System.IO.Ports.SerialPort (new new new in the ß2 framework) demo. ... But no download with forms and stuff; he actually advised a poster “just copy the code and paste it in [the IDE and] it will work fine” — which is very much like the old joke, “here’re the basketball scores: 20-10; 89-17” etc. ... I don’t believe he’s actually that dim — although his code raises the possibility — but no it’s just another resume-enhancer. ... Could be both I suppose....

... Whatever, Owen triumphs; I wanted to learn a little Visual Studio anyway, and this ridiculous gormless source was just the sort of trial-by-fire thing I could use. ... So I got it working, fixing a few silly things along the way. ... Score: Owen:1; Gurus:0. ... And, I must add, the MicroSoft IDE didn’t crash once. ... The MSDN “help” had a problem once, but not the IDE. ... And now, just to rub sand in all their faces, here is my very own rendition of “The Resume Enhancer”, so much louder and so much worse. .... No mine comes with forms you lucky pilgrims! ... The illustration above is the MSDOS Lync terminal emulator chatting with it in a W98 DOS box.

... This just in! ... Compiles and runs without a single complaint in “Express” Visual C# 2005 version 8.0.50727.42, NET version 2.0.50727! ... Not a burble! Not a whimper! And free free FREE! Go Microsoft!...

And now, in the very latest possible extreme exciting news, successfully compiled and at least came-up in Visual Studio 2010! ... Which I have isolated on a Windows 7 machine, to avoid contaminating the others. ... And I didn’t actually try the serial communications, so heaven have mercy on your equipment. ... Naturally, this also means the source will be totally incompatible with any previous Microsoft IDE....

— Tuesday, March 15, 2011 1:39 pm

______________________________
NOTES

Gary Kildall ran Digital Research, and was Mr. CP/M.

Microsoft, the Underdog: It’s true, every other page of the computer mags does seem to be a Microsoft ad, but I am confident no sentient being pays attention to these things. ... I actually suspect it’s Microsoft’s way of subsidizing the magazines, which to be sure still fade away day by day since before the dot com crash.


XP Shortcuts: They Toggle with the Alt Key!

Who knew? For years both I and LOL noticed the shortcut underlines disappeared from the menus — sometimes ...

that’s not the electric light
my friend that is your
vision growing dim

Dress Rehearsal Rag, Leonard Cohen

But, no, it was the computers! A tremendous wonderful feature introduced somewhere in the toils of XP makes the shortcuts invisible when the window first appears and then, depending on how much you offered the consigliere, they toggle by pressing and releasing the ALT key or, for the better-class of customers, say your latest NET thing, they stay on. ... It’s a feature! Those underlines were so ugly and annoying, now they’re not there unless you want them — and happen to know that if you want them, you should press the ALT key. ... Which, of course, absolutely nobody knows — except me, the LOL. And now you....

And then in the fullness of time, I came across “right-click desktop, properties, appearance tab, effects button, uncheck Hide Underlined Letters for Keyboard Navigation Until I Press The Alt Key”. ... So EZ eh? ... As oft I’ve opined — if only these programmers could speak. ... Of course XP help has nothing useful for “alt” and nothing at all for “alt underline”....

In Windows 7, they claim it’s “Open Control Panel / Ease of Access Center / Make the Keyboard easier to use” then “option is at the bottom of the window”, “Underline keyboard shortcuts and access keys”. It was there, but I’m not convinced yet....

— Thursday, May 9, 2013