AKA “This Is Why You Should Just Stick To The Standard Shorthand”

I really needn’t say more, but this is a blog after all.

It all started one day when I was heading into the mall with a friend of mine. I think I was applying for a job or something, because I needed my SSN that day. The reason is not as important as what was said next.

“Do you have your soshe?”

“… My what?”

“Your soshe”, she repeated.

(And as a side note, yes, I do put my punctuation outside of the quotes if it’s not part of what was said. Deal with it.)

I didn’t know what a ‘soshe’ was, so I asked.

“Your Social Security Number, silly!” was her answer.

Oh boy…

Let me explain a few things here. First and foremost, I hate just about any attempt to make a word popular by “highschooling” it up. I think that started with the word “fetch” from some bullshit teen comedy or another. One day people just started calling things “fetch” and it caught like wildfire. Stop that shit.

Second, some words are just not popular enough to shorten. “Social Security Number” comes up in daily conversation about as often as “guerrilla rectal exam”, yet you don’t hear people saying “guerexam”. If it doesn’t need to be shortened, don’t shorten it. This is not Newspeak.

Third, this rule applies not just to single words, but phrases too (as hinted oh so subtly in my title and opening sentence). Anyone who has been online for a day knows that “LOL” means “Laughing Out Loud”, “WTF” means “What The Fuck”, “BRB” means “Be Right Back”, and “OMG” means “Oh My God”. I consider these and a few other acronyms almost sacred, a sort of online canon that must be honored for decades to come.

But many people do not.

Over time, other people tried to capitalize on the popularity of these sacred acronyms. We started seeing “JK”, “ROFL”, “YW” and others. And the Internet community accepted them. They are not and never will be as popular as LOL, but they are still welcome in the Pantheon of acronyms.

Then we entered into the dark ages…

“YMMV” (Your Milage May Vary), “NMP” (Not My Problem), “POS” (Parents Over Shoulder), and “TYS” (Told You So) began to appear like weeds in a flower garden. Soon it became impossible to have a conversation because everyone thought that you can simply make an acronym out of thin air!

I’m fighting back. I refuse to let the bastardization of a whole set of holy shorthand occur in my presence. As long as I draw breath, the likes of “FWIW”, “GFY”, and “TSIF” will be publicly shunned.

Now brb while I afk to gttb and gste.


The Humble Hyperlink

I don’t have a snappy intro to this post, so I’ll just say it: The rent is too damn high The web is too damn big.

Allow me to explain. Just about any search term you can imagine will return multiple results from different sources. Just off the top of my head, I searched for “how to make cupcakes” and got 10 different web sites with 10 different recipes.

Some people would call this “information overload”, but I don’t think that’s the right term. Information overload implies that you can’t handle the amount of information being thrown at you, which further implies that you are actually attempting to absorb all of that information.

I prefer to call this “cruft”. Cruft, for those of you who do not know, is a term used to describe anything unnecessary or unwanted. In software, this means largely unused code, or code which is messy and gross to look at. Similarly, having all these similar yet distinct links just seems like too much. I say this for two reasons.

One, people tend to only look at the first few links, and very rarely do they go to the second page. This means that most links are just wasted space on the page, bandwidth that could better be used routing Farmville or some crap.

Second, there comes a point when there are just too many articles on the same topic. I was reading today about symlink race condition attacks, and there was the Wikipedia page, then about 4 other pages quoting that article with little to no added value.

So how does this relate to the hyperlink? Put simply, it is my opinion that it makes much more sense to simply link to an existing article than to rewrite one of questionable quality. This does two things. First, it elevates that single article to a position of authority in the Internet realm. It’s like mentioning K&R to a group of programmers. Everyone knows it. Second, it means that searching for that gem of knowledge is made much simpler than dredging through mounds of data for hours on end.

Yea, there are some drawbacks. No, I don’t feel like writing more right now. Maybe I’ll edit this later.


Just a quick post about something funny that just happened.

I got on to check my comments (all one of them) and found the usual spam. Except the spambot made a mistake here and instead of parsing out his script, he just posted it:

{Nice|Excellent|Great} post. I was checking {continuously|constantly} this blog and {I am|I’m} impressed! {Very|Extremely} {useful|helpful} {information|info} {specially|particularly|specifically} the last part :) I care for such {info|information} …

Good job, man.