Tags: language

Avoiding ‘words to avoid’ | Inside GOV.UK

I love the thinking behind this plugin that highlights the weasel words that politicians are so found of.

Hemingway

A useful text editor that analyses your writing for excess verbiage and sloppy construction. It helps you process your words, as it were.

furbo.org · The Origin of Tweet

A fascinating bit of linguistic spelunking from Craig Hockenberry, in which he tracks down the earliest usage of “tweet” as a verb relating to Twitter.

Basically, it’s all Blaine’s fault.

xkcd: Syllable Planning

This is called expletive infixation.

I’ll always remember the “Phila-fucking-delphia” example from Steven Pinker’s The Language Instinct:

If you said “Philadel-fucking-phia”, you’d be laughed out of the pool hall.

Poll Results: “Sites” vs “Apps” | CSS-Tricks

Some excellent research from Chris, canvassing opinions on whether there’s a difference between web “apps” and web “sites”. His conclusion:

Almost none of the points above ring true for me. All I see are exceptions and gray area.

If nothing else, the fact that none of the proposed distinctions agree with one another show how pointless the phrase “web app” is—if people have completely differing ideas on what a phrase means, it is completely useless in furthering discussion …the very definition of a buzzword.

This leads me to think perhaps the “web app” moniker (certainly the newer of the two) is simply just a fashionable term. We like the sound of it, so we use it, regardless if it truly means anything.

But all of this is, I think, missing the more important point: why? Why would you want to separate the cornucopia of the web into two simplistic buckets? What purpose does it serve? That’s the question that really needs be answered.

If we could pin down a super accurate definition that we agreed on, even then it might not be particularly useful. And since we can’t, I argue it’s even less useful.

The most accurate (and damning) definition of a “web app” that I’ve heard so far is: a web site that requires JavaScript to work.

Long Term Web Semantics on Infrequently Noted

Alex starts with a bit of a rant about the phrase “semantic HTML”, which should really just be “well-written HTML, but there then follows some excellent thoughts on the emergence of meaning and the process of standardising on vocabularies.

STET

From the lovely people behind Editorially comes STET:

A Writers’ Journal on Culture & Technology

Benedict Cumberbatch Name Generator

I bet you’re going to just keep clicking and clicking and clicking…

A Timeline made with Timeglider, web-based timeline software

Improve your word power: here’s a timeline of terms used to describe male genitalia throughout history. And yes, there is a female equivalent.

ANAGRAMATRON

There’s something quite lovely about this: pairs of tweets that are anagrams of one another.

Tech companies that only hire men

Job postings that only use male pronouns.

See, this is why using “they”, while technically incorrect, can often be the least worst option.

Life & Thyme

Good writing. Good design. Good food.

Notes on remixing Noon, generative text and Markov chains

Jeff Noon and Markov chains—a heavenly match by Dan.

The Aleph: Infinite Wonder / Infinite Pity

Just like in the Borges short story, you can now see everything at once …from Project Gutenberg, or from Twitter, or from both.

This may be the only legitimate use case for (truly) infinite scrolling.

Not click. Not tap. Select. : Cennydd Bowles

Cennydd uses the word “select” as an input-neutral term for what we might be tempted to call clicks or taps. Personally, I like the term “choose”, although that word might have too much intent bundled with it.

The dictionary of obscure sorrows

Ennuitastic.

Execution in the Kingdom of Nouns by Steve Yegge

A classic of writing on the fundamental differences between programming languages.

Interview with Lauren Beukes about Shining Girls

Lauren talks about The Shining Girls and the tools she uses to write with.

To Be Today

A beautiful project from Brendan and the Royal Shakespeare Company: the headlines of today preceded by quotes from The Bard.

The Panasonic Toughpad Press Conference - LOOK, ROBOT

Now this is what I call tech reporting.

The women leave the stage, wet computer in hand, and a new man takes the stage. He plays a schmaltzy video where Portuguese children teach adults to use Windows 8 accompanied by a hyperloud xylophone soundtrack that slices through my hangover like cheesewire though lukewarm gouda.

Why you should say HTML classes, CSS class selectors, or CSS pseudo-classes, but not CSS classes - Tantek

I love that Tantek is as pedantic as I am …although I don’t think “pedantic” is exactly the right word.

No Evidence of Disease (Idle Words)

Quite a story.

If Hemingway wrote JavaScript by fat xxx

This is a rather lovely way to show that in JavaScript, as in Perl, there’s always more than one way to skin a cat (in whatever idiom you prefer).

The Kitschies present… Beukes, Miéville and Ness

An evening with Lauren Beukes, China Miéville and Patrick Ness in London the week after dConstruct. Sounds like fun!

[Guest post] Growing up in words « Sarah Ditum

Kids say the mindblowingest things.

Rosetta on Vimeo

A beautiful short film about The Long Now Foundation’s Rosetta Project.

Copywriting: a life-saving kit.

This is so good. On father’s day, Harry asks his father, an award-winning copywriter, for advice on writing. The result is an knowledge bomb of excellent advice.

The Truth About the East Wind

This is a terrific piece of writing from Robin Sloan, entertaining and cheeky. Plug in headphones, and start reading and scrolling.

The East Wind was about to get a call from an angry star.

What’s in a Name? | The Intercom Blog

The hitherto unnoticed connection between the names of Android phones and the names of condoms.

russell davies: SXSW, the new aesthetic and writing

Russell was the final panelist to speak at the New Aesthetic South by Southwest tour-de-force, taking a look at how our relationship to text is being changed.

scott_lynch: Against Big Bird, The Gods Themselves Contend In Vain

It turns out that Big Bird is a god-defying instantiation of Moorcock’s Eternal Champion. Magnificent!

Big Bird and Snuffy go with him to stand in the Hall of Two Truths at the gate to the afterlife. The gigantic foam balls on these guys! Sure, Elmo loves you, but when’s the last time Elmo held anyone’s hand on the threshold of eternal night?

ishida >> blog » HTML5 adds new translate attribute

Richard gives the lowdown on the new translate attribute in HTML.

One Div Zero: A Brief, Incomplete, and Mostly Wrong History of Programming Languages

A genuinely amusing alternative history of programming languages.

Wat — Destroy All Software Talks

This cracked me up. There are two possibilities: either this is really is very funny or I am very nerdy.

College Misery: Henchminion Sends In the Tale of “The Magna Carta Essay!”

A trojan horse for plagiarised college papers, much like the fakery on maps (“Lie Close”, “Arlington”) and in dictionaries; traps to be sprung on the hapless copy’n’paster.

Babies and the Bathwater | Contents Magazine

Mandy’s inaugural article for Contents Magazine is a wonderful piece of thinking and writing.

Enjoy reading this.

Choosing the Right Words – Web Intents — Glenn Jones

Glenn has written up the discussion that followed his UXCampBrighton talk on web actions.

Editing tips for designers : Cennydd Bowles

Good writing advice from Cennydd.

Metaphors we Program By: Space, Action and Society in Java

Linguistics and programming collide in this paper from the 18th Workshop of the Psychology of Programming Interest Group, University of Sussex, September 2006: Lakoffian analysis of the mental models of Java programmers.

Of Sites and Apps « James Pearce

James attempts to tackle the thorny question of what makes something a web “app” (rather than a web “site”). It reminds of the infamous definition of obscenity:

I know it when I see it.

In short, the answer to the question “what is a web app?” is “fuck knows.”

The shape of our future book — Satellite — Craig Mod

Craig has written down his dConstruct talk, the one that completely polarised opinion. Personally, I loved it.

shitty portmanteaux

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse than “webinar.”

Being is a Verb | Necessary Trouble

Some great thoughts on the language of the web.

Beautiful Swear Words

A swear word a day, typeset.

>> blog » html5′s new bdi element

An excellent explanation from Richard of the bdi element (bi-directional isolate) for handling a mixture of left to right and right to left languages in HTML5.

The Elements of Fucking Style

Use strong, definite language in your writing. Make that sentence your bitch.

Frank Chimero’s Blog - The Storm and The Line

A beautiful dose of perspective from Frank.

Lightweight Computing – Stuntbox

The class of device formerly known as mobile.

Douché!  ¶  Personal Weblog of Joe Clark, Toronto

when you have to concede that someone has made a good counterargument, but they’re being a jerk about it.

I have to remember this one.

Nanolaw with Daughter (Ftrain.com)

A superbly written piece of near-future legal-dystopian speculative fiction. Damn, that Paul Ford can write!

“When It’s Not Your Turn”: The Quintessentially Victorian Vision of Ogden’s “The Wire” « The Hooded Utilitarian

What if the Wire were a serialised Dickensian story? …which, let’s face it, it kinda is.

The nourishing wake — Satellite — Craig Mod

I cried.

Shady Characters

The secret life of punctuation.

My Father’s Final Gift « Aza on Design

The beautifully-written and moving story of a father’s last gift to his son. The father is Jef Raskin; the son is Aza Raskin.

W3C’s new logo promotes HTML5—and more | Deep Tech - CNET News

Curiously, though, the standards group—the very people one might expect to have the narrowest interpretation of what exactly HTML5 means—instead say it stands for a swath of new Web technologies extending well beyond the next version of Hypertext Markup Language.

HTML5 Gains Logo, Loses Meaning | Webmonkey | Wired.com

Lumping everything together is as silly as a carpenter referring to every tool in their toolkit as “a hammer.”

Clive Thompson on How Tweets and Texts Nurture In-Depth Analysis | Magazine

Could it be that the current penchant for quick, real-time bursts of content could actually be beneficial for more thoughtful, long-form content?

750 Words

An intriguing writing exercise. If I weren’t such a procrastinator, I would try it out.

Fillerati - Faux Latin is a Dead Language

The best alternative to lorem ipsum yet.

Damn You Auto Correct! - Funny iPhone Fails and Autocorrect Horror Stories

What a difference an autocorrect makes.

Once Upon a Title

Pervy little stories made entirely from children's book titles.

Heed this well young costumed beggars | Coudal Partners

My bookmarking you may rue and curse, to read such horrors told in verse.

Welcome to Open Library! (Open Library)

One web page for every book. I love this project.

Gangsta Lorem ippzle dummy text generator

Spizzle up your tizzle.

Walter Benjamin’s Aura: Open Bookmarks and the future eBook | booktwo.org

James Bridle propsed Open Bookmarks during a presentation at Tools of Change in Frankfurt today: "Open Bookmarks is not a thing, it’s a proposal, a flag in the ground. We need to agree on a way of sharing and storing annotations and bookmarks, reading attention data and everything around the book: that aura."

Comma quirk irks Rogers - The Globe and Mail

Punctuation matters.

The origins of abc | I love typography, the typography and fonts blog

A wonderful history of our alphabet. Set aside some time to read this.

Unsuck It

An excellent resource for deciphering corporate business-speak gibberish (I'm going to need this when I'm eavesdropping on Andy Budd making phone calls).

CaptchArt - captchart's posterous

Captchas reinterpreted into art.

Telescopic Text © Joe Davis 2008

A wonderful experiment in expanding hypertext.

New Programming Jargon — Global Nerdy

Some of the best neologisms in programming, many of them to do with bug-fixing.

Mojibakeru kanji-animal transformers ::: Pink Tentacle

Kanji characters that transform into the animal they represent.

Geology in Art: The Thagomizer

"...after the late Thag Simmons." No, really. It's a proper paleontological term now.

Daniel Davis - The HTML5 <ruby> element in words of one syllable or less

A nice explanation of the ruby element in HTML5: very handy for marking up phonetic pronunciation.

Hyperbole and a Half: The Alot is Better Than You at Everything

Coping mechanisms for grammar pedants. I can see myself using this alot.

Tattúínárdœla saga: If Star Wars Were an Icelandic Saga « Tattúínárdœla saga

The nerdgasmic result of a collision between linguistics and Star Wars.

hitotoki : A Narrative Map of Tokyo

Short stories in Tokyo.

kung fu grippe : Making the Clackity Noise

I want to frame this and mount it on my wall so I will see it every day.

Code: Flickr Developer Blog » Language Detection: A Witch’s Brew?

This. This right here is how you manage sites in multiple languages. Are you listening, Google?

Phonetikana - the johnson banks thought for the week

An interesting experiment in making Katakana self-describing.

Timothy McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Letters from the Hellbox.

In praise of Gutenberg's contribution to typography.

Calligraphy by Nancy Howell

Wonderful calligraphy — something we don't make much use of on the web.

shopping losts

Taking shopping lists and setting them in a more typographically pleasing way.

Rise of the Tablog → Put Things Off

I think that reports of the death of the blog have been greatly exaggerated but I agree with just about everything written here.

The WHATWG Blog » Blog Archive » Spelling HTML5

The official word on that darned space.

All Sorts - a linguistic experiment

Collective nouns, collected.

Garfield: Lost in Translation

Garfield, translated into Japanese and then translated back into English.

PHP: goto - Manual

Wait... I thought this was considered harmful?

Allergic to "grilled cheese" - Love Letters - Relationships questions, advice and more

And the award for Best Euphemism In An Online Column goes to...

Hamish Hamilton: Five Dials

A beautiful PDF literary magazine, designed to be printed out and read away from the computer. I'd still love to see an HTML version.

Dashed Bad Form | Standpoint.Online

A humorous comparison of the em dash and the semicolon; but this online setting scuppers the author's wit by using hyphens instead of em dashes — punctuation-derived humour fail!

Eucalyptus: The Library, to go – on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

This looks like a nice book reading app.

Ten years of the Guardian online - plotted in expletives

Trust Tom to use the Guardian's new API for the purpose of answering those pressing questions, like "is fuckknuckle *really* the new cockbadger?"

arc90 lab : experiments : Readability

An excellent bookmarklet designed to help you read more easily on the web (by hiding all that filthy, filthy advertising).

StupidFilter :: Main / HomePage

Because the internet needs prophylactics for memetically transmitted diseases.

List of Words it is NOT ok to ever say.

Glad to see "webinar" on this list. Shame about "lifestream."

Lyttony

Past winners of the Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest, "where WWW means Wretched Writers Welcome."

this is a working library

I love the design of this site almost as much as I love the content.

Localization Problems: A Cellphone's Missing Dot Kills Two People, Puts Three More in Jail

When localisation attacks. This is like a more morbid Douglas Adams vignette.

neologasm: antfucker

I'm being credited with hauling this wonderful phrase over from the original Dutch.