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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Computer-ese, Jargon and My Coming Booklet

Tech terms drive me crazy. In general. And in particular.

I'll be including a section on the most heinous ones in my new booklet (more to come on this blog!) that lists common editing (and writing) booboos but I thought I'd vent a bit today on one there's little or no help for. Thus I am including it for relief, though I do suggest some casual alternatives in case there is an occasion where we really need to get away from computer-ese.

It's Wi-Fi:

Wi-Fi doesn't say what it means. We've been told it means "wireless fidelity" but the firm that helps brand products created the term and they say it doesn't stand for anything. I want to know why we've adopted a word that doesn't mean anything! David Pogue of the New York Times prefers "wireless hot spot" when he can substitute that term. It might improve some tech instructions if they said, "Find a cozy nook where your computer can connect wirelessly to the Net." For some of us it wouldn't hurt if they got really basic and said, "You can find one at most McDonald's."

Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success at Learn more about her other authors' aids at, where writers will find lists and other helps on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog.
And please tweet to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:


kathy stemke said...

I retweeted this post. Great job Carolyn!

Word Crafter said...

Hi Carolyn,
Tried to retweet and got an over capacity notice - hmmmm. I'll try again later. I just found you in yet another book (a new book) I was reading --you were once again recommended as a source the book was...The Writer's Digest Guide to Query Letters by Wendy Burt-Thomas--on page 80 she includes The Furgal Book Promoter as a source book for marketing plans. = )
You are every where girl.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Wow, isn't it amazing how we take care of one another! Thank you so much Billie. Kathy, I hope you got the web address I sent you for the Twitter widget! I made a mistake in the first one. (-:


Prill Boyle said...

Though I'm not a tweeter, I love the concept of retweeting.

Speaking of Wi-Fi, I've always been the kind of writer who nests in one place day after day, but since I recently Wi-Fied my house (I know, Wi-Fi isn't even a meaningful noun, let alone a verb), I've been writing in different rooms, following the sun. Just the change of location has been revving up my creative juices.

Prill Boyle
Author of Defying Gravity

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