1 2 3 4 Displaying 8-14 of 26 Articles

There are all sorts of words in English based on the -onym word part, which derives from a Greek word that means name. Everyone knows about homonyms and synonyms, but what about retronyms, demonyms, and aptonyms?  Continue reading...
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Recently I was in a meeting about computer security where the presenter concluded an explanation with "…basically, it's an example of the Confused Deputy problem." For me, the term confused deputy vividly invoked a kind of genial befuddlement that might indeed result in a security problem.  Continue reading...
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Your computer's keyboard has around 110 keys by which you can make your wishes known to the machine. Most of these have obvious labels: if you press the A key, the letter A appears on the screen. Some are less obvious, though — the Shift key and the mysterious Ctrl key — and in this article I'll explore why they're named what they're named.  Continue reading...
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What does a Hanseatic city have to do with America's most popular sandwich? How is the city of Mozart related to a ballpark favorite? And how did the names of these cities end up as common and productive English words? It's all because of Americans' love for an ethnic food that's so much a part of our diet that we might not even realize it's ethnic: namely, German cuisine.  Continue reading...
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June 23, 2012 would have been the 100th birthday of the British polymath Alan Turing. Among his achievements, Turing contributed substantially to the field of computers, and his name shows up multiple times in the lexicon of IT. Reflecting on this made me wonder who else I might find represented in the vocabulary of the field. Lots of people, it turns out.  Continue reading...
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It's hard these days to be in the computer business and avoid "the cloud." All the big companies — Microsoft, IBM, Amazon, Cisco, and Apple, among others — tout their cloud services. For the most part, the folks who have to think about cloud computing are programmers. But odds are that you’re using the cloud today, and definitely will be tomorrow. What is "the cloud," anyway?  Continue reading...
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I've been in the technical-writing world long enough to remember when graphical user interfaces — that is, the Macintosh and Windows — arrived, and when we had to learn how to describe this interesting new way of interacting with computers. We don't think about it much now, but there was a time when terms like point, drag, click and double-click, and maximizing a window were all new terms and concepts.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 Displaying 8-14 of 26 Articles