What Does That Mean?
Modern technology has changed a great deal of things, especially when it comes to living our everyday lives. But, one aspect that is rarely considered is its influence on language. Of course, we mean English, because it’s sort of the unofficial language of the internet, despite its global appeal.
Imagine talking to someone 10 or 15 years ago, using the terminology we use today. “Tweets”, “lol”, “meme”: these are all terms that would have guaranteed you a blank look at best from the person you were talking to – if you were to pull a Marty McFly and go back to the past with your DeLorean. Let’s take a look at some of the terms we use on a daily basis, and how they came to be.
Canned meat and useless messages that flood your email and social media accounts don’t appear to have much in common despite bearing the same name, but appearances can be deceiving. It all goes back to a Monty Python gag, where a restaurant menu contains nothing but spam. Of course, they go on to repeat the word until it becomes absurd – sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
With yet another food item on the list, this is beginning to look like a cooking channel blog, but bear with us. The virtual version of cookies is there to facilitate a better experience while surfing the Web, even though you will hear a lot of complaints about cookies invading the user’s online privacy. Ok, but what does that have to do with actual cookies?
The word was first used in the 1990s to name tiny bits of code which tell if the user had visited a particular website before. The “cookies” part actually has a lot to do with a term “magic cookies”, used in programming to help computers recognize each other. On the other hand, “magic cookies” probably originated from one of the now ancient video games where you would have to collect them to reach the next level of the game.
Google has become a verb since its inception, but its roots can be traced back to a time when one of Google founders, Larry Page, was trying to come up with a name for his new company. He turned to his fellow classmate for help, and they came up with googol, which is the name for a number that starts with a 1 followed by 100 zeros.
While typing the name into the search engine to check if the domain name was available. Page’s classmate accidentally wrote “google”. Page thought it was better than the original spelling, not to mention that it was a unique new word which would never be confused with anything else.
Bluetooth has nothing to do with teeth or the color blue. Back in the 1990s, there were many different standards used for wireless communication. The need for a universal standard accepted by all manufacturers led to the birth of Bluetooth Special Interest Group. Bluetooth was used as temporary name, at the suggestion of Intel engineer who had read a book about Harald Bluetooth, the Viking King of Denmark. However, the name stuck to this very day.