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Journal Bill Dog's Journal: words 8

I used "social engineering" in a sentence a few minutes ago and wanted to look up some kind of official definition. Dang it is getting hard to find the definition that's not just the technical, hacking one.

On a second page of hits I found that Webster's still retains its historical definition:

Management of human beings in accordance with their place and function in society.

(Hey, what could be more moral than that, right?)

I say historical because it no longer describes an alternate state, rather now being concomitant with existence. I.e. it's no longer an "ism", it's an "is". So therefore it's not really notable as its own word anymore.

In general I lament when words, that already have a distinct meaning, get hijacked by the ignorant, and it catches on. Because then we lose the original meaning/no longer have a word to describe the first thing. (Which, of course if you're on the Left, don't mind at all if the politically manipulative meaning of that word pair gets obscured by the technology meaning one.)

"Hacking" is another one. As someone who went through a Computer Science program at a university in the late 80's/early 90's, its original meaning in computers meant to skip desiging and thinking about a program and just diving in to coding it. But I figure some journalist heard the term and grokked that it related to computers somehow but didn't know how, and made the incorrect assumption that it related to breaking in to computers, wrote an article, and the rest is histoire.

And for the latest example, Pest Buy is now running commercials that you should come in and buy Windows tablets there because they've handed some out to their employees first and they've taken them home to learn it, presumably to be better able to tell you how to use Windows 8. But they're referring to this process as "beta testing". Gah!

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  • Given my experiece with Best Try, it might be "Betta" testing. They dunk the tablets in fishbowls and see how the fish handle it. Honestly, I'd probably trust the technical opinions of a Siamese Fighting Fish over that of a Geek Squad member.

  • The only means of achieving stability are (a) go dead, Latin, or (b) whole cloth, Tolkein.
    Just as Anglo-Saxon and Norman French begat English, they're currently pulling in Spanish for a sort of menage a tortilla, if you will. You just have to go sanguine on language, man.
  • "The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and riffle their pockets for new vocabulary."

If you want to put yourself on the map, publish your own map.