Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Nerd Words

When computers first came into use, we spoke of computer functions by referring to the real life tools or functions they seemed to mimic, often prefaced with “e-”. Thus we had chats and chatrooms, bulletin boards, e-mail, e-commerce, e-tc. Even such common terms as window, desktop, file and folder and cloud were appropriated from natural language.

Later, we reversed that trend by dragging computer terminology out to refer to real life things: interface, overload, stack dump, off line.

And, of course, some words have made the complete round-trip … spam.

Recently, Apple has bucked its own “i” trend, giving its products names that simply put “Apple” in front of some traditional object name: Apple Watch, Apple Pencil. It’s as if they were saying “This is Apple’s ultimate take on the very ideas of watch-ness and pencil-ness.”

So at what point does computer become a generic term, so that Mac is replaced by Apple Computer?

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