Friday, November 21, 2008

The Technicalization of Civilization

I'm beginning to think that with all the mumble jumble computer talk, my toddlers really aren't that far off from reaching the success of having learned the English language.

Take Google for instance. What a funny name. It's like what you say to a baby, "Goo-goo-ga-ga..." (or maybe that's supposed to be what they say to you.)

Or a nano. I don't have one of these. I have never downloaded one of these. I don't listen to one of these. I have never seen one of these. What is a nano?

Or Blog, even. When I first heard the word 'blog' I thought it referred to some marshy styled website that computer savvy people had.

Or Widget. That is so far from anything English, I can't compare it's sound to anything familiar. Except for a witch crossed with a gadget maybe.

Or Digsby. What a name. And how do you pronounce it? Dig-z-by or Dig-z-bee?? And how on earth does it's name indicate at all what it's definition might be?

Or Digg This. What is this?? Some universal gang-banger-street-talk-made-trendy because a guy in a suit and tie certified the term 'digg it' and made it into a universal hyperlink found on pretty much every web page. If you say it fast, it sounds like a bad word. I just don't dig 'digg it.'

Then there's the iPod. The problem I see with the iPod is that it's spelled funny. When I was a kid in school, we were taught to capitalize the FIRST letter of every word, not the second letter. It should really be spelled Ipod. There.

Or Facebook??? The very thing I teach my kids NOT to do... "Don't throw that book in your brother's face!" But Mom! YOU have a 'Facebook.' (Okay, that was lame...)

Really, Facebook has more weird terms than a person could ever come up with. It's like they must've taken a whole basket full of goodies to a little kid and said, "Kiddo, what do you call this thing?" and then the first sounds that came out of the kid's mouth, were made into Facebook lingo.

Okay, so you can 'poke' people. You can throw sheep at them. You can wrap them in bubble wrap. You can send them 'flair.' You can 'tag' them in pictures. You can comment on their status message. Try explaining to someone that doesn't have Facebook what a status message is and why anyone would need to comment on it. Getting updates on your news feed (on Facebook, of course) that your friends who had a wedding 10 years ago are "now married" is a huge relief. I guess because Facebook makes it look "official" after all these years, it's somewhat of a comic relief.

And the best thing about Facebook is that you can even write on people's wall. It's like a whole society committing themselves to the greatest form of illegal communication: graffiti. But, it's all legal of course.

Moving out of the topic of Facebook, the internet (and just the computer in general) still has tons of things to consider. Even simple things like 'docking a page.' Is that the same as docking a boat? Or are they referring to a medical type of thing as in "doctoring?" Or maybe it's something entirely different.

And does anybody know what AIM actually stands for? Even though I can't remember what it stands for, the letters AIM automatically make me think of "aiming" an instant message at a friend. And of course that is the purpose of AIM: instant messaging people. But the acronyms I don't know their definition for sure. Does the "A" stand for "automated," the "I" for "instant" and the "M" for "message?"

Oh and 'Google Talk' does not mean you sit and talk googly. It's a phone system connected via internet and you use your computer's built in speakers and microphone in which to communicate with people. It's like a computer based speaker phone system. And you can talk about whatever you want, not just goo-goo-ga-ga stuff.

Same goes for 'Google Chat' but of course you must not forget that in the twenty-first-century, "chat" indicates a type of communication done with typing, not an audible voice type of communication. Thankfully, you CAN chat about anything, not just goo-goo stuff... though I know the name is confusing: Google Chat.

Blogger has it's own unique terms as well. Does anybody know what all a blogger "Dashboard" is capable of? One little tip: it does not have a steering wheel so don't be disappointed when you can't find one.

Then there's blogger "Feeds" but don't expect it to ever have chili. Or anything else pertaining to physical sustenance.

About the time you think you have a basic grasp on modern internet lingo, terminology and other such technical details, don't get too comfy: in our day and age, a thing like a tinyurl can definitely shorten a link but man, how on earth does that make sense? What is the point?

I think there can come a point where we technicalize (how's that for a techy-made-up word?) everything to the point that we must simplify in order to retain pertinent information. But then when we do that, it only complicates the situation even more because ultimately, we must add more information in order to keep what we have and yet change it to something more "simple."

Seriously, I shouldn't be talking. Do you know how many times I have had to look up my blog address just to make sure I was spelling "Coeur d' Court" right?

Yeah, all I can say is that I'm thankful for my favorites list and a hard drive that works as long as my computer is on.

Oh, and the reason I'm not replacing my new made up word "technicalize" to something more technically accurate in spelling is because the following words were also not accepted by my spell check:

Nano.
Disby.
Digg.
Facebook.
iPod.
Tiny Url.
Coeur.
internet.

How pathetic is it when my internet based spell check doesn't even know it's own component's correct spelling? So, maybe technicalize really IS a word...?

4 comments:

Peter Pillman said...

Well, to clarify some of your questions.
AIM means: Aol Instant Messenger.

Docking is referring to the similar docking of a boat.

Blog is an abbreviation for web log

Dig this is a take-off of the phrase "to dig up" coming off of the idea of digging up treasure etc.

Nano is a proper prefix in the English language, referring to an extremely small division, thus we use it for anything we like to equate to being very small.

And to add a few more to your list, some things you never think about, but use all the time, what does that "http" or "https" and "www" stand for?

Http[s]: Hypertext Transfer Protocol [secure]

www: (some of us like to call it the world wide wait) but it really is world wide web

And realize that the reason why this all sounds like silly mumblings is that most computer guys just never really grow up. Also no one gets a major on English, (more likely in other languages like Java, C#, or something like that) so why would the English names given be any more advanced than the words your kids use?

Consider also the "mouse" you use to navigate your computer. CDs, DVDs, keyboards, speakers, scanners, hubs, switches, routers, servers, PCs, webcams, ethernet, internet, wi-fi, ftp etc. :-)

Fun to consider sometimes, but the list is so endless (try asking your husband the names of car parts! PCV joints, hubs, transmission.....) how did they get their names?!

Kate said...

Wow! I never really thought about it but it sure is a language of its own!
And I, who am not incredible computer savvy only know the tip of the iceburg!

Jean said...

I say - why worry about all those names and funny vocabulary. i just wish people writing messages would use a few more proper English words and good grammar. Try living having a Canadian based system and getting the spell check to work - after 40 years I finally know where some of the differences between American and Canadian English spellings are but I get so many red lines under words to indicate I've spelled something wrong according to the spell check. The spell check on blogspot is American so is Facebook but on our personal word processor it is Canadian.

I am hopeless enough in the spelling department that I really have to pay attention to what I write and hope that my various friends can figure it out whether they read American or Canadian.

pat ve said...

Every field has had volumnous "words" added during the last decades. What amazes me, is that in the 50's when I was in gradeschool, our Weekly Reader had an article about a day when people would be able to see the person they were talking to on their phone. I had horrible imaginations that they might see me in the bath tub! Well, at that time the telephones were all black, corded, phone numbers in the big city of Des Moines had only 5 digits until late in the 50's when they added a two-letter prefix. Our number was BL(ackburn) 55008. There were no computers, at least any less than the size of a room. Language--when people asked how we were, we replied "fine" not "good". I struggled listening to the use of the word "cool" when everything being described was fully understood by the word "neat". Language, as my college professor once told us, is always changing. Henceforth, thou shalt not be amazed with any amazement at new vocabulary thou dost encounter in the future.
Oh yes, AIM takes care of my tax preparations.