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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday 5/25

Name Game

Most of the time, we never question why things are called what they are.  We just accept it and move on.  A road is a road.  A corkboard is a board made of cork.  I don’t how the stapler got its name, but I’m willing to accept its uniqueness.  Pretty straight forward, right?  But there are plenty of things out there which have names that don’t make much sense at all.  I’ve rounded up a couple and asked one of my favorite questions: Why?


Why are speakers called speakers?  Mine don’t speak.  (And they certainly don’t make speeches.)  It’s a real odd ball because practically every other computer component and peripheral has a logical name.  The processor, the keyboard, and the monitor are all as clear as day to me.  Even the mouse at least resembles a small vermin.  Speakers, though, missed the mark.  Maybe they should be called “sounders” or “noisies.”  (I’m not in the business of making up names.  That’s the best I could come up with.)  We’ll never outlive this one, though.  They’ve been calling them speakers since the first telephone was invented.

Hot Dog

Trying to uncover the origin of the term hot dog is like trying to find the City of Atlantis.  We’re not even sure if it’s out there, and if it is, we sure don’t know where to look.  The term ‘hot dog’ is exactly 50% easy to understand.  It’s served hot.  But the other half is a head-scratcher.  Dog?  Well, it’s not made of dog.  It doesn’t look like a dog.  It doesn’t taste like a . . . not that I would know.  Sorry, but it looks like we’re going to have to live with this one, too.  I guess you could call it a ‘frank,’ which actually does make sense, but where’s the mystery in that?


This is a new one.  Wi-Fi is a play on the term Hi-Fi from the 1950s.  That being said, Wi-Fi would stand for ‘wireless fidelity.’  Okay, okay.  Wireless: check.  Fidelity: huh?  Yeah, fidelity as in ‘strict observance of promises, duties’ or ‘conjugal faithfulness.’  Here’s the kicker: the trade group that owns the Wi-Fi brand, The Wi-Fi Alliance, can’t even agree on the term.  The alliance has used ‘wireless fidelity’ in press releases and ads, but they’ve also made a public statement saying ‘wi-fi was never meant to mean anything.’  Sounds like a bunch of finger-pointers are running around that place.  Oh well, I’ll stick with Wi-Fi.  It’s kind of catchy. 

By: S. Cole Garrett


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