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Chapter 7. Peripherals > Peripheral Connections: Getting on the Right Bus

Peripheral Connections: Getting on the Right Bus

For some reason, every time I hear the acronym USB, I start playing Scrabble in my head. Besides making entertaining anagrams, USB stands for Universal Serial Bus. Developed by Microsoft, IBM, and other companies, USB is a multiplatform standard that lets peripheral devices communicate at high speed with any personal computer. Apple rolled out the first Macs with USB when it introduced the iMac. Since then, every new Mac has incorporated at least one USB port and sometimes two.

Parlez-Vous USB?

The USB specification is impressive. First off, it is a true plug-and-play interface. You simply plug in your peripheral (a printer, scanner, or hard drive, for example), turn it on, and away you go—no terminators or ID switches to set. However, initially you will likely have to install some type of software driver so your Mac can communicate with your peripheral device. Thanks to some extra magic in Mac OS 9 and later, whenever you plug in a new USB device, if you don't have the necessary software installed, a dialog box will appear, guiding you to the Internet, where you can download the driver.


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