Monthly Archives: October 2011

10 Ways to Cuss Without Cussing on Twitter

SMS or text-speak has been continually increasing its bounds since Twitter appeared on the scene with its limit of 140 characters per tweet. Since tweets are never totally private, means to keep twitter language free of cuss words are being used to avoid offense or censorship. Here are ten ways that people manage to ‘cuss without cussing’ on Twitter. 

  1. Grawlix – Yes, there is an actual official name for the use of a string of characters to represent cussing. Whatever the string – $#@!? – it is generally understood to mean a string of curse words. This usage first began in comic strips and the name, grawlix, is credited to cartoonist Mort Walker.
  2. Single letter replacement – Using just the first letter of a word and then the suffix is another way tweeters avoid actually cussing and save themselves some characters in the process.
  3. Technical terminology – This means of avoiding cuss words is not used all too often on Twitter, simply because technical words tend to use up too many of the 140 character limit. Occasionally, you still might see a “UR a pain in the rear end” or other references that provide wording that might me more acceptable than the 3 and 4 letter cuss words that they are replacing.
  4. Asterisk replacements – This is another cuss word disguise that won’t save you any characters. In this form you simply replace two or three of the letters in the word with asterisks or sometimes dashes.
  5. Numbers for letters – Replacing letters with similar looking numbers is another way that tweets are sent out with their cuss words mildly disguised. You might see 5h17 or 13itch pop up in tweets from people who make use of this form.
  6. First letters only – Since this has become one of the most common forms of text-speak, such as the well-known LOL for laughing out loud, it naturally translates over to the cuss phrases as well. OMG is pretty well-known and so is SOB. WTF and KMA are a couple more that you’ve probably come across in tweets from those with a more colorful language style.
  7. Symbols for letters – Just like using numbers to replace similar looking letters, people do the same thing with symbols. The dollar sign ($) works for an S and an exclamation point (!) works for an I. Sometimes you will see a combination of symbols and numbers being used, such as in 81tc#.
  8. Slang spelling-  There are a few instances where the slang can be phonetically spelled, such as in ‘UR effin right’, but there aren’y too many terms where that can be applied.
  9. Foreign language – This little trick has been used in verbal cussing for years, so it is natural that it would be used in tweets as well. You can hide your true cuss words from the general populace if you learn to type out the equivalent in some language other than English.
  10. Old fashioned slang – Simply reverting back to some old fashioned terms like ‘jerk’  and ‘goofball’ are another way to tone down the adult ratings on your tweets.

Were you surprised at how creative we’ve become at being able to voice our expletives in the Twitter environment? We are people who love our words, even when those words are less-loved by others.

10 Comparisons Between Star Trek and Modern Technologies

For those of us who were around to watch the original Star Trek series on television, we remember thinking how cool it would be to have some of the great gadgets they used. The future is now! Many of their ‘futuristic’ ideas have become available in some form, since then.

  1. Communicators to cell phones – Flip open devices that allowed you to communicate with others from almost any location. Of course, there was the occasional atmospheric interference that cut off your connection to the other person. Lots of similarities in these two.
  2. PADDs to tablet computers - Personal access display devices were used in Star Trek: The Next Generation. They were flat panel touch screen devices that were used for a multitude of tasks and gaining access to all kinds of information. Although the PADDs were a bit undefined at the time, they have definite similarity to the ipad and other tablet computers.
  3. Ear piece headset to bluetooth technology – Wireless headsets were worn on the bridge of the Enterprise. They were small and attached to one ear. Bluetooth headsets are used in environments today that are not near as sophisticated as the star ship’s command deck.
  4. Portable data disks to floppy disks/data drives – Thin, small pieces of plastic were inserted into the computer consoles of the star ship, which were close in size to the 3-1/2 floppy disk. Today we have even smaller USB data drives for transporting data.
  5. Voice commands to voice commands – The ability to give verbal commands to electronics is a true reality today, even though it isn’t used as often as it was on Star Trek. Computers and many cell phones have the capability of being directed by voice command.
  6. Tricorder to modern thermometers – The tricorder could scan a person’s body and provide readings on a number of different things. There have been some similar devices created, but the closest one to be seen in many homes today is the modern digital ear thermometer. The thought of getting a temperature reading from an infant so easily was not even thought of by mothers during the first years of Star Trek.
  7. Transporter to GPS – No, we haven’t been able to ‘beam’ anyone up or down, but we can locate people just as specifically with a GPS as the transporter was able to lock into the location of people it was called on to retrieve.
  8. Diagnostic scan to CAT, MRI and ultrasound – Dr. McCoy could lay you on his diagnostic table and perform a scan of your body to come up with a diagnosis. We use several different scanning technologies for diagnosis today.
  9. Phasers to Tasers – In Star Trek, they pointed their phasers at the enemy and were able stun or disable them with a blast of energy. The reaction to being struck by a taser looks very similar to what you saw by those who had been hit by the beam of a phaser on the television show.
  10. Video Screen Communication to Skype – We may not talk to people on a screen quite the size of the one Captain Kirk used on the Enterprise, but we easily communicate from screen to screen using Skype. The big screens are used, though, for teleconference speaking, all the time.

No one guessed at the time that Star Trek first aired, just how fast some of those technologies would develop. We still aren’t traveling at ‘warp speed’, and we haven’t found the Vulcan’s with those pointed ears, but Spock could show up any day now.

10 Ways ISP’s are Finding Bandwidth Hogs

Describing a bandwidth hog is a matter of point-of-view and here is more to it than simple computations of amounts of usage. If someone uses a lot of bandwidth, but does so in off-peak hours, is that person any more of a hog than another user who uses less bandwidth but does so during peak usage hours? ISP’s are making big noises about bandwidth hogs, but some feel that is just a cover for raising rates. Price increases are seemingly inevitable, and, of course, it will be the consumer who bears the brunt of any price increase. Below are some of the debate points, along with a few ideas on more equitable distribution of costs.

  1. Comcast – The communication giant has come under fire for the way in which it has handled bandwidth issues, and there is talk of a class action suit, though nothing is concrete. Angry customers have said that bandwidth problems are being dealt with in a secretive and arbitrary manner by Security which doesn’t seem to communicate with Customer Service.
  2. Phones – Internet phone use can use a lot of bandwidth, which worries people who use their phones extensively; they are afraid tiered pricing might force them from their phones.
  3. Verizon – A spokesperson for Verizon said that the company has not experienced any bandwidth problems, nor is there any set “cap” to which patrons must adhere.
  4. Fairy Tale – Analyst Benoit Felten challenges the very existence of bandwidth hogs, and says they are figments of ISP imagination, simply tools with which to control their market.
  5. The Office Pool – On a small scale, office use of the internet can raise problems. As an example, when popular sporting events are transpiring, office use of the internet can rise dramatically, but without any corresponding rise in productivity to show for it. Office managers play the role of the ISP, and monitor and even restrict amounts of internet use.
  6. Time Warner – Without being specific, Time Warner executives say that they don’t disconnect a customer’s service for excessive bandwidth use, but that they use alternative in-house managerial strategies to combat usage that could degrade the experience of others using the provider.
  7. Track your Usage – Sites like www.pitstop.com can measure your usage, and let you judge your various upload and download speeds.
  8. Schooling – There is still a lot of room before we are actually forced into a 4G world, but people need to be taught about conserving their usage and/or spreading some tasks out to be performed during off-peak hours.
  9. Change – Customers have come to expect flat-rate broadband service, which makes it harder to foster the notion of tiered pricing, although that might be a more equitable way to price service.
  10. Netflix – Movie rental biggie Netflix is doing battle with ISP’s that would like customer’s to switch over to their own video programs. Problems with bandwidth are not genuine, say Netflix personnel, and are simply ploys to snag Netflix customers.

Do bandwidth hogs really exist? It probably depends on your definition of a hog.

10 Country Songs About Internet Technology

Country music has long had a love-hate relationship with technology. Country singers love cars, trucks and trains. Airplanes aren’t well regarded, and computers and cell phones are usually targets of ridicule. Country songs are usually a pretty good reflector of  America’s gut feelings.  Listed below are some selections that reference the internet directly, as well as a couple of statements about technology in general.

  1. “I Still Like Baloney” – Alan Jackson – “I got a laptop that sits on a desk, I don’t use it much except to check some ole car from yesterday”.
  2. “Welcome to the Future” – Brad Paisley – “And I’d have given anything to have my own PacMan game at home. I used to have to get a ride down to the arcade; now I’ve got it on my phone”.
  3. “Phones are Ringin’ All Over Town” – Martina McBride – “He’s got friends of his callin’ friends of hers, but she’s nowhere to be found. Phones are ringin’ all over town”.
  4. “Dreamin’ in Color, Livin’ in Black and White” – Billy Ray Cyrus – “The cool of the night reveals the spark of a sweeter light, so she’s dreamin’ in color and livin’ in black and white”.
  5. “Turn on the Radio” – Reba McEntire – “Try to call, Twitter me, text until your fingers bleed”.
  6. 20th Century – Alabama – “We had movin’ pictures and radio, and Broadway, country, rock and roll, In 1900 who’d a bet we’d all be surfing on the internet. . .From blocks of ice to air condition, telegraph to television, in 1900 who’d a known we’d all wind up with pocket phones”.
  7. “Science” – Willie Nelson – “I was just guessing at numbers and figures, pulling the puzzles apart, questions of science, science and progress, oh take me back to the start”.
  8. “Online” – Brad Paisley – “When you got my kind of stats, it’s hard to get a date, let alone a real girlfriend, but I grow another foot and I lose a bunch of weight every time I log in”.
  9. “1982” – Randy Travis – “Operator, please connect me with 1982, I need to make apologies for what I didn’t do”.
  10. “Amerika v 6.0 (The Best We Can Do)” – Steve Earle - “Four score and a hundred and fifty years ago our forefathers made us equal as long as we can pay, yeah, but maybe that wasn’t exactly what they was thinkin’, version six-point-oh of the American way”.

Technology has come a long way since “Lonesome Whistle Blues” but country music seems to be fighting it tooth and nail. If anybody can take us back in time, and maybe to Luckenbach, Texas, it’s going to be a country singer.

10 Ways to Brown Nose Using FaceBook

The existence of FaceBook as a widely available platform for interaction has given us the opportunity to find new ways to do old things. This includes the art of brown nosing, in both social and professional networks. Here are 10 ways to brown nose using FaceBook.

  1. Profile Alignment. Change all of your profile settings that indicate interests to those that match up with the interests of the person to whom you are trying to suck-up. Make sure that you bring this to your subject’s attention.
  2. The Like Button. Do your best to always be one of the first to click on the Like button when that person posts personal or professional news. Do be careful though, to actually read the post before clicking the button. Failure to do so has potential for negative consequences and much snickering among colleagues and rivals.
  3. Insincere Laughter. The great thing about LOL is that it is less obvious than a poorly executed laugh in a face-to-face setting. If he or she is trying to be funny, you can LOL with no one able to be certain as to your sincerity.
  4. Professional Affiliation. If the person you wish to brown nose is your boss or an executive in your company, be sure that you have affiliated yourself with the company in all forms and shapes that are possible on FaceBook. If the company has a website, link to it, if the company has a FaceBook page, Like it.
  5. Your Profile Picture; Professional Version. Replacing your profile picture with the company logo can be effective, especially if you post often on company FaceBook pages. If the company does not have a FaceBook page, but your boss does have one, her or his wall is prime space for profile picture/logo planting activities.
  6. Your Profile Picture; Personal Version. If the person for whom you are trying to brown your nose is a dog lover, change your profile picture to a dog. Go a step further and use a picture of that person’s dog, if you don’t think she or he will be creeped-out by it. The same goes for cats and horses. If your intended target loves classic cars, changing your profile picture to that of an all original 1963 T-Bird can serve the same purpose.
  7. Their Photo Album. If your subject has a photo album on FaceBook, this is another prime brown nosing opportunity. Go through their photos and take plenty of time composing really flattering remarks wherever they may be appropriate.
  8. Play Tag. Whenever possible, post photos of places and people that you wish to brown nose admires, and always remember to tag them in the photo so that they notice. Also, do this with any photos of yourself doing impressive things or receiving awards.
  9. Page and Group Affiliation. If the object of your brown nosing has joined groups or Liked the pages of musicians, charitable organizations, or causes of any kind, do the same as he or she. As with other activities, it is important to make sure that the right person has opportunity to notice what you’ve done.
  10. Shared Prejudice and Paranoia. This one may be more difficult and a bit distasteful, depending on your view of yourself. If you learn that the person in your nose-sights has particularly extreme political views, racial or cultural prejudices, or is gripped by religious paranoia, FaceBook is a great place to share links and comments that will get their attention. Of course, this will likely lead all of your other friends and coworkers to shun you and talk behind your back, so maybe it’s not such a good idea.

I’m reasonably certain that there are more ways to brown nose using FaceBook, and fully expect all of these to eventually fall by the wayside as the work of an amateur. Perhaps this article will even be a catalyst for someone to find better, more efficient ways to brown nose with FaceBook, though I really hope not.