Do we understand words as we use them? – John Koziol

(UPDATED)  More word issues posted at the bottom.

OK, this is not a technical post; it's an observation of the absurd or weird.  It may come off sounding like an old George Carlin routine.

  • Today I was in a restroom in a hospital. There was a NO SMOKING sign with the phrase "Be Cooperative" on the bottom. I'm sorry, but NO SMOKING is a directive, not cooperative. Either get rid of the cooperative remark or change the sign to "PLEASE DON'T SMOKE" are my thoughts.
  • A couple of years ago,Garrett Fitzgerald and I went to Sears and were in the clothing department when we noticed a SALE sign.  It read:  GREAT PRICE, $29.99! .... looking at the small print it read "reg. $29.99" and a sticker on the sign read "Additional discounts do not apply".  So what was the sale exactly? I liked this one so much I asked Garrett to be a lookout and I stoled the sign.  It's pinned proudly on my office corkboard today and if you ever get to Redmond I'd be happy to show it off!
  • I drove by a mall on my way home.  There was an entrance along the street that read "Enter" and had an arrow pointing into the mall.  Huh?  I did not realize that one could use an entrance in multiple ways and that an arrow was required to show proper usage.
  • A buddy bought a 1st class plane ticket today. Think about this.  Is there a second class?  A third?  No.  So why is the only class designation "First class"?  Shouldn't it be "Only Class" or, better yet, renamed to something like "Premier"?
  • We are introducing a simplified deployment scheme with VS 2005 called "One Click" although that name may change. Now, having played around with this, it certainly requires more than one click. Shouldn't it be "Three Clicks" or "A Control-Key Combination and a Couple of Clicks"?
  • Why is IntelliSense named so?  Is it intelligent?  Can I ask Intellisense about quantum physics?  The lottery?  No.  So why isn't it "AnticiSense" as it's function is to anticipate what you're going to type next?
  • "Properties" aren't really properties by classical definition, they're attributes. Why do we Raise errors when errors sink our applications? Discuss amongst yourselves.
  • Database domains are kinda creepy in name.  Is there an emperor of the domain who will smite me for transgressions?
  • In South Florida ,on the intracoastal, you can hail a water taxi.  Why?  Isn't it too busy ferrying around water?
  • Why do indexes (indices if you insist) have keys?  Are they locked?
  • Why is a particular type of data in a table (table?!) called a column.  What does it support?  Is it Doric or Classical or what?
  • Why when failing a "Try" do we "Catch"?  Isn't catching a good thing?  Shouldn't error handling be in a structure called "Dropped"?
  • Why is an aggregate of files in VS a "solution"?  Isn't that presumptious? What if it doesn't actually solve anything?
  • Why is it "Visual C++"?  Of course I can see it.  Unless I'm sight-challenged, in which case I rely on Active Accessibility. I guess it's good it's Active and not passive but couldn't I access it anyway?  I just may not know what I'm doing.
  • For you VFPers:  Why is QueryUnload named such?  It doesn't ask the Unload anything.
  • Why do we drive automobiles?  If they're "auto", shouldn't they drive themselves?
  • What exactly is an "Unhandled exception"?  If it was unhandled, how would the application be able to tell me about it?
  • Why is the browser called "Internet Explorer"?  It doesn't explore anything, it just waits for us to point it at stuff.
  • Is Python really named after Monty Python?  If so, why?  They never coded anything.
  • Why do we have programming languages named after people who failed to program?  Pascal and Ada come to mind.
  • Why is MS Word, "Word"?  Don't we use it for more than one word?
  • On that note, why is "Excel" named such?  What if I'm a beginner with spreadsheets?
  • I won't even go there with "Access" VFP MVP friends remember the infamous Access sign at the 2003 Summit <g>.
  • Why is the new Office application called "OneNote"?  Heck, I use it for lots of notes.
  • Why are forms called forms but properties are on a "sheet"?
  • Why are our Program Managers called such when they don't manage programs (wellll...most don't)?
  • Why is the Media Player a player?  Doesn't it render media?  I don't want it to play, I want it to work.
  • Why is IBM's flagship database called "DB2"?  What happened to DB1?  Should there be a criminal investigation?
  • Why is RAM called RAM (Random Access)?  If it was truly random our computers wouldn't function.
  • Why is it called XML when the first word in the acronym doesn't start with "X"?
  • Is "hotmail" hot?  Should I be concerned? Is there a fire hazard?
  • Is "gmail" family-friendly, hence the "g"?
  • Is "home theatre" an oxymoron?  If I buy it, of course it's going into my home.  Isn't it just "theatre" then?
  • Why do we still declare variables in VB with "Dim"?  Is it a perjorative; that is, is the developer "dim" if he doesn't declare the variable before trying to use it?
  • Is the phrase "preprocessor" recursive?  I mean, isn't the preprocessor code processed?
  • What if I use an "Enterprise Edition" product at home?  Am I suffering from delusions of grandeur?
  • Why is the Real Media Player real? Is there a Fake media player?
  • I haven't noticed any increase in time when I play video via QuickTime.
  • Isn't EPROM a serious contradiction?  If it's Electronically Programmable, it's not Read Only.
  • Why is a "monitor" a monitor?  It doesn't monitor squat - I do.
  • Are DWORDs always words?  I think not.
  • Why is Boolean named such?  Did we have no concept of true and false or logic before Boole?
  • Why are Oracle and Delphi made by two different companies?  Wasn't the Oracle at Delphi traditionally?
  • Back to IBM:  What happened to the AS/300, /200, and /100?  These guys really need to be investigated.
  • Screen savers don't generally save screens.  Discuss amongst yourselves.
  • I don't use the Microsoft Natural keyboard; I use a traditional keyboard.  Is that unnatural?
  • Why is "WiFi" called such when it's Wi but not Fi?
  • On that note, why is scoping out WiFi networks called "warchalking"?  Can I be bombed?
  • Why is a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) called as such?  What if it's not personal but for my whole family?
  • I don't recall programming faster when using Quick Basic.
  • I don't recall feeling like a fraud when I didn't use True Basic.
  • Why was PL/1 called PL/1?  It wasn't the 1st programming language. Sounds like another IBM plot.
  • Why is Novell NetWare named as such?  It doesn't run on a network, it runs on individual computers.
  • I have never understood why the disk area reserved for databases is called a device.  It doesn't do anything.
  • Why do I have to click "Start" to end Windows?
  • Why do I always have to click "OK" to save stuff, even if I'm just doing it because I have to and it's not OK?
  • Task Manager doesn't manage tasks.  It lets me do it.

Can you guys think of any I've missed?


More I've thought of since the 15th....................

  • In Lotus and VisiCalc it was a spreadsheet.  In Excel it's a worksheet.  It doesn't spread nor work by itself so what's up with that?

  • When will 3 1/2" diskettes ever graduate to full disks?

  • Anyone know the origin of "newspaper"?  I do - "news" stands for North East West and South. So what happens if no North or South stuff?   An ewpaper?

  • A hard boot.  Believe me, if I give you a hard boot you'll know it. But it means simply turning on a cold computer.  Seems minor.

  • A warm boot.  Restarting without shutting down.  Is that supposed to make me feel better?  A warm boot to me is still a boot. Painfully.

Heh. More will come.


Comments (8)

  1. lagoku says:

    A lot of thoughts here..why do you have to type it out elecronically when you can use a pen.

    Why do they call it a paperless office with all those newspapers around…

    WHy do they call it fast food, when you still have to wait and order, shouldn’t you just have to open your mouth and in it goes…

    WHy is it called honeymoon, do we know the taste of the moon.

    WHy is it called the USA, when I do not like living in NY, I prefer TX. Shouldn’t it all be the same, if we are really a US

  2. Emiddlebrooks says:

    Who is general failure and why is he reading my disk?

  3. KSS says:

    With regards to "News", not according to the Online Etymology Dictionary ( It’s plural of new.

  4. Gunnar Philipp says:

    hahaha – funny. thanks John – you gaved me a good lough!

    and to the other comment (… It’s plural of new.) – so what happend to the south? <vbg>

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