Friday, November 06, 2009

FYI: The term "infovore" was coined by me, circa 1996. Hmmph.

Don't you hate it when you hit upon an idea and don't do much with it, let it sit around for years and years -- then suddenly, you find articles about someone else being credited for doing something significant with your idea? This happened to me today while reading BoingBoing, and an Urban Dictionary entry, and a blurb about some neuro-scientists who claim to have coined the term (2006) for that craving humans have for novel things.

But as far as I know, I was first.  Came up with the word sometime in the mid-90s and used it to describe myself at an Oracle interview in 1996. Had anyone used it before me? Maybe. Please comment below if you have evidence.

Since everyone was purchasing domains back then, I bought infovore.com in 2000 or so, but let it slide. (Now it's owned by somebody in France).

At least I still have mediavore.com. And anyway, as Douglas Rushkoff has since written, we are more consumers of meaning than information.

What I need now is a word to describe this situation: discovering an idea, sitting on it, then later finding that others have since done something with it.

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posted by Brian at 3:04 PM 1 comments links to this post

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Word of the Day

unobtanium
An incredibly desired substance, so much so that even money can't acquire it. (Usage: "The Nintendo Wii is made of pure unobtanium.")

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posted by Brian at 1:01 AM 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"Ygology" - The Study of Palindromes

The Dictionary Evangelist has an entry about "ygology," or the study of palindromes. In case you've forgotten, palindromes are are words or sentences that are the same backwards or forwards. For example, "Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas." Or "Step on no pets."

There are also phonetic palindromes. A while back I accidentally discovered that "review" sounds the same forwards or backwards when played back in reverse by tape or audio software.

Then there are words that just sound cool when said backwards, like "continental."

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posted by Brian at 11:48 AM 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Lexicography, anyone? Why Dictionaries are soo Victorian

In a recent TED Conference video, dictionary evangelist Erin Mckean gave a perspicacious panegyric regarding the purpose of lexicographers and their compiling of dictionaries, and how the epitome of dictionary-ness, the giant, tightly-guarded codex of official ("real") English words is just a leftover habit from Victorian days. Even in the Information Age, computers have not changed dictionaries much -- as she puts it, online dictionaries are electric velocipedes in an age of cars.

It occurred to me that lexicography (or perhaps "neolexicography", my new word for the aspect of compiling dictionaries involving brand new words in use) is a bit like collecting toys, or stamps, or music or other accumulation activities where one is interested in the context -- where did this thing come from? How was it used? What significance does it have? And like sound and music, words are meant to be shared; they are building blocks of expression. Lexicography does not have to have aesthetic bias -- insignificant, obscure words can corralled along with the magnificent. But could it also be like gourmet cooking? Like Remy the rat in Ratatouille having an appreciation for exotic and delightful tastes, selecting the colorful and illustrative over the merely vulgar, cliché, or boring?

The Internet is all of the above. There is room for dictionaries with everything and dictionaries with only words some group of people finds acceptable. Wherever words and enthusiasm start to coalesce, there will be a lexicographer waiting...

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posted by Brian at 12:05 AM 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

English is broken, I tell you!

English is broken, I tell you!

Case in point:

(A person causes a problem and someone witnesses it).

Person 1: "Who is responsible for this mess?"

Person 2: "I am"

Person 1: "You are so irresponsible."

Thus, Person 1 is both responsible and irresponsible simultaneously!!

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posted by Brian at 3:09 PM 0 comments links to this post