Monday, August 01, 2011

Technology and Language

It's funny how ubiquitous technology has changed the meaning of various words, phrases and acronyms. I remember when:
(1) A "PDA" was a Public Display of Aggression.
(2) A "window" was a transparent device enabling you to see the scum in the streets without having to smell them.
(3) "Ruby" was a type of Tuesday.
(4) BASIC stood for "Basically, After Sex I Cringe"
(5) A "relational database management system" was a plastic box on your desk that held record cards detailing distant relatives you were planning to stalk.
(6) A "server" was someone exploited by the service industry; they were so unimportant they didn't even have a name.
(7) "Hypertext" refered to sophisticated, non-linear, branching text systems allowing transclusion, high-resolution linking, view control, side-by-side comparison and versioning, not the crappy Web we have now.
(8) A "Mouse" was something dropped down the blouses of female guests when they had outstayed their welcome.
(9) "FTP" stood for "FTP The Pr0n".
(10) An "Eigen value" was the ratio of West German GDP to sales of blue denim jackets and Elton John singles.
(11) "Garbage Collection" referred to books and articles by Nicholas Negroponte.
(12) A "hashing algorithm" was a technique to maximize the narcotic effects of cannabis, often utilizing a euphonium.
(13) "Polymorphism" was my friend Polly after she bought a Wonderbra.
(14) "Duck typing" was something you occasionally saw in the early hours of the morning when the ducks, thinking all humans were still in bed, used their Panasonic Toughbooks.
(15) "Packet switching" was a technique that allowed you to steal your neighbor's mail. (well, maybe that hasn't changed).