David Kirkpatrick

November 12, 2010

Adventures in bad writing

Filed under: et.al., Media — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:43 pm

Hate to pick on an otherwise fine article, but this really stuck out: “For security reasons, never leave your laptop unsecured.”

And for daily nutrition reasons, always take in daily nutrition.

Makes you wonder where the editor was at Forbes that day.

July 13, 2010

No, we don’t need another IT acronym

Filed under: Business, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:35 am

This bit of linguistic and businessspeak stupidity comes courtesy of Computerworld‘s editor-in-chief:

The consumerization of IT is becoming a landslide, big enough to have its own acronym — I nominate “CoIT.” But I’m not sure many enterprises are all that aware of it.

He’s clearly out of his depth as an editor because that job entails making certain every word, sentence and graph in the publication is easily understood by the target audience. It does not entail creating unnecessary, and quite inelegant to boot, acronyms to add to the overflowing alphabet soup bowl that’s already out there and too firmly entrenched to do anything about.

It’s a shame because the article linked in the opening sentence is actually pretty good and covers an important topic — the use of consumer electronics in the business world. The story is almost fatally marred by the author’s repeated use of his made-up acronym. I can only assume he hopes the acronym catches on for personal satisfaction, because really it’s just too hard to come up with a few two or three word iterations on the phrase “consumerization of IT.”

April 30, 2009

Elements of style, part one

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:07 pm

Okay, before any grammarians out there get all twisted about the title of this series (if indeed it turns into a series) the title is merely an homage to the great tome by William Strunk and E.B. White. I keep a copy next to my writing table. It doesn’t get thumbed through nearly often enough.

Now to the point of this first installment of “elements of style” — I’ve noticed an interesting reworking of the often used descriptor, “bite-sized.” That is the traditional usage and makes perfect sense. The object in question, be it an idea or anything else is small enough to be immediately consumed. In effect, a bite-sized thing  is small.

The new version I’ve seen in a number of places over the last few years and growing is “byte-sized.” Essentially the same meaning, same pronunciation of the original and makes perfect sense in the digital world. Small and easily digestible, or usable.

(Hit this link for The Elements of Style: 50th Anniversary Edition at Amazon.)

October 17, 2008

When our alien overlords arrive …

… at least we’ll be able to understand them. At least if this alien language program being developed at Leeds Metropolitan University works as planned.

From KurzweilAI.net (last one today, I promise) —

Scientist develops programme to understand alien languages
Telegraph, Oct. 15, 2008

John Elliott of Leeds Metropolitan University has developed a program to compare the syntax of an alien language to 60 different languages in the world.

If aliens are much smarter than us, there would a lot of words packed into phrases (a measure of ability to process multiple ideas), he says, and the program should also be able to break a language up into crucial words such as nouns and verbs, even though their meaning is unknown.

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