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Terms Of Endurement. Humor is cheaper than therapy.

Digital Audio Production

A/D: "Anguish/Despair" - a point in time near the beginning of a direct-to-disk recording session during which one realizes the software has just enough bugs to prevent the completion of a project before the client's deadline.

Aliasing: The practice of addressing a misbehaving computer with various derogatory nicknames - the majority of which are unprintable.

Bias: A strong - often near-fanatical - preference for either the Mac or Windows OS.

Buffer: An ingredient of many analgesics which calms the digestive tract during release of beneficial medication.

Brightness: A measurement of the mental capacity needed to decipher the gobbledegook contained in a software manual.

Byte: Typically, the largest portion of a meal that a computer user is able to consume between serious problems.

Card: A thin, magnetically coded plastic rectangle useful for deferring the cost of computer accessories.

Clock Speed: The perceived speed at which time passes while working toward a deadline - slowly at first and more quickly as things begin to go wrong.

Contrast: The difference between a light area and a dark area; i.e., the difference between the darkest area of a computer screen and the circles under the eyes of a computer user.

CPU: An acronym for "Corporal Punishment Unit" - a slang name for the computer's "brain."

Crash: An almost instantaneous loss of consciousness caused by too many problems, too little sleep and a diet rich in sugar and caffeine.

Cut And Paste: A procedure by which one removes certain words from magazines and uses them to create a threatening anonymous letter to the company that sold the faulty computer gear.

D/A: "Despair/Anguish" - a point in time following A/D ("Anguish/Despair") during which the frustrated user realizes he or she can still beat the client's deadline - if he or she can convince the 12-year-old neighborhood computer geek to debug the software.

DAT: "Diacritical Audio Termination" - the ability of software to identify and accidentally delete only irreplaceable audio files.

Default: A figure of speech used by someone who's just accidentally erased a hard disk, i.e., "It's default of desoftware."

Disk Fragmentation: A pathological spinal condition caused by too many late nights hunched over a keyboard.

Dither: A state of flustered excitement caused by a screen message such as "erasing hard disk now."

Dot Pitch: A slang term for throwing frozen hockey pucks into the monitor of a misbehaving computer.

Extended Memory: The mental capacity necessary to recall important commands without re-reading an entire manual chapter.

FFT: "Fastest Failure Time" - the length of time between completing setup of a computer-based studio system and the first failure of an integral piece of software or hardware, usually several hours.

File: A police department document which describes when and where one was found running naked through the streets and screaming hysterically. See "Dither."

Floppy: The state of one's lower appendages following an eight-hour session in front of a computer screen.

Gigabyte: Ingesting an entire pizza in one mouthful and thus simultaneously replenishing the body and making up for the time lost to rebuilding an accidentally deleted audio file.

Hard Drive: Driving home at a crawl through morning rush hour after an all-night attempt at recovering the data from a crashed hard disk.

Hertz: A word used to describe the sensation caused by crushing a misbehaving computer mouse between one's teeth.

Import/Export: A fly-by-night computer box house which sells unsuspecting computer novices hardware assembled by ex-pro-wrestlers who are paid "by the piece."

Interface: A slang term combining the prefix "inter" (Latin for "between") and "face." The period of time between grimaces caused by protocol incompatibilities.

I/O: An acronym for "Idiot/Opportunity" - a term used by computer salespeople to describe customers who allow themselves to be talked into buying unnecessary items rather than admit they don't understand what the salesperson is talking about.

Lightpipe: I lightweight but strong length of metal tubing which can be used to render a misbehaving piece of hardware to scrap metal.

Lockup: The "guest quarters" of the police department in which one finds one's self after being booked. See "File."

Mac: An inexpensive and readily available meal which contains the four basic food groups and which might be consumed during a "hard drive."

Megabyte: Ingesting an entire slice of pizza in one mouthful and thus simultaneously replenishing the body and making up for the time lost to rebuilding an accidentally deleted audio file.

Megahertz: A word used to describe the sensation caused by crushing a misbehaving computer mouse between one's teeth the day following a triple root canal procedure.

Message: A recorded communication, typically left on an answering machine, which informs a user preoccupied with a serious software glitch that the client's deadline has been moved forward by 24-hours.

MIDI: "Masochistic Inclination Dare Index" - a numerical system used to rate one's tendency to ignore such crucial safeguard procedures as backing up important sequencer files.

Millisecond: The short period directly following an on-screen message such as "erasing hard disk now," during which the user's mouth opens but emits no sound. After "Milli Vanilli."

Oversampling: Procuring and swallowing enough free samples at the grocery store to warrant an eviction by security. See "Sample Rate."

PCM: "Pre-Catastrophe Mode" - the lack of concentration caused by gross overconfidence and which precedes the accidental deletion of an impossible-to-recreate digital sample.

Peripheral: That portion of human vision which weakens after long periods of time spent staring at a screen.

Playlist: A mental list of enjoyable activities repeatedly recited to oneself as incentive to finish a long and stressful period in front of a computer screen.

Port: Typically, dark-red and very sweet wine, available at many all-night convenience stores. Often used in conjunction with analgesics.

Power Spike: The figurative name for a jackhammer, one of the few tools that can remove the contents of a jammed disk drive.

PPQN: An acronym for "Parasympathetic Panic Quotient Number" - a numerical system for rating the brain's ability to withstand absolute crisis before instructing the parasympathetic nervous system to shut down the heart. See "Dither."

RAM: "Read And Mangle" - A type of computer processor which converts the information stored on a disk into unintelligible on-screen gibberish.

Real Time: The actual time of day or night, as opposed to that indicated by a wristwatch severely damaged by the fist-pounding that follows a disk crash.

Resolution: A promise made to one's self to change to a less stressful career, such as selling penny stocks.

ROM: "Random Order Malfunction" - the apparently non-sequential order in which software and hardware snafus occur.

Sample Rate: The rate at which one can procure and swallow free samples at the grocery store where one would usually be buying groceries if there was any money left over from carpal tunnel syndrome therapy.

Screen Saver: Anything that can cover a computer screen and withstand the impact of a forcefully hurled piece of furniture.

Scrubbing: An action that follows "Cut And Paste" and removes the printing ink and glue from one's hands with a combination of washing and hard rubbing.

SCSI: Pronounced "Scuzzy" - the condition of one's body following 36 nonstop hours trying to install properly a connection between a computer and a synthesizer. SCSI stands for "Shower Critical, Smell Inescapable."

SDIF: "Sentient Device Impatience Formula" - a mathematical formula used to determine precisely how much impatience can be exhibited by the user before a new computer senses it and freezes the keyboard.

SMPTE: "Sacred Mystic Pagan Technology Entity" - an imagined, wrathful and vindictive gatekeeper of the digital domain, believed by many computer users to decide the fate of precious data.

Software: Comfortable guest clothing provided by the police department. See "Lockup."

SPDIF: "Sentient Paranoid Device Impatience Formula" - a mathematical formula used to determine precisely how much impatience can be exhibited by the user before an older and emotionally abused computer senses it and freezes the keyboard.

System Prompt: Usually, a letter from the bank (the system) asking for (prompting) one to make last month's installment payment on the loan which financed the computer.

Timecode: An ambiguous description of the length of time required to perform a given function, provided by a software or hardware manufacturer's marketing department.

Time Squeeze: A situation in which a client's deadline is approaching faster than the computer is working.

Utility: Publicly provided electrical power which flickers, surges and disappears at precisely the wrong moments.

VGA: An acronym for "Vasoconstrictive Gelatification Aptitude" - a measurement for a monitor's ability to turn one's eyeballs into something akin to overcooked pasta.

Waveform: The way in which one's body begins to sway slowly from side to side before toppling over. See "Crash."

Waterfall: An analogously used term which describes the way a beverage flows over the lip of a jostled container and directly into a keyboard.

Windows: Handy structural openings through which one can leap after the power dies - instantly obliterating all audio files that are not backed up.

WYSIWYG: Pronounced "Wizzywig" - slang for a hair style caused by trying to install an add-on board in a computer without first disconnecting the power supply. WYSIWYG stands for "Wattage You Suck In When You're Grounded."