Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A smarter way to app

The Windows Phone people are rolling out a new version of the operating system, known officially as Windows Phone 7.5, known unofficially by its code name "Mango." The tagline (or one of them, anyway) seems to be "A smarter way to app":

(Click here to see a 30-second video.)

The meaning they intend seems to be "a smarter way to use apps" as opposed to, say, "a smarter way to create apps." (Which would be a meaning that might have some traction in the group I work in.) Or I suppose you could interpret it as "a smarter way for us (Phone) to present apps to you (user)."

Certainly app has been established as a noun, and there was the interesting tussle earlier in 2011 when Apple sued Amazon over the trademark "App Store."

But I haven't till now seen app being used as a verb. Of course, this is marketing, and those folks are nothing if not playful with grammar.

Monday, September 12, 2011

One Nissan Leaf, two Nissan ...

Now it's not just the Prius and its tricky plural. Nissan's electric car is the Leaf. Suppose you had two of them. They'd be ... Leaves? Leafs? June Casagrande thinks Leafs. So do I, and for the reason she mentions. (See my thots about the Prius.) You?

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The honey badgers of web development

First there was the honey badger, a badger-like creature that's apparently known for its "ferocious defensive abilities." Then there was a nature program (video) that explored the honey badger's appetite for such delicacies as bee larvae and cobras and its apparent indifference to bees and snakebite and venom and pain. And then there
was Randall's alternate narration (video) for that nature documentary, from which all the world learned that "Honey badger don't care. Honey badger don't give a shit."

Like it? Get the t-shirt or the poster.

Right, this isn't news; the Know Your Meme site has a nice piece that recounts the brief history. (It also came up in the TV show "Glee," which is nothing if not culturally au courant.)

What's fun is watching the term honey badger go generic. Earlier this year, Mignon Fogarty (aka Grammar Girl) tweeted this:

Honey badger don't care about "i.e." and "e.g." (, but you should:

That was in May; note that she uses the full phrase and includes a link for the as-then-still uninitiated. But yesterday I found this in a technical article:

Then there are the honey badgers of web development, the notorious Content Management Systems, designed to kill all your hopes and dreams.

No "don't care" here; no link. You either get it or don't.[1]

This is what really interests me; is it possible for the term honey badger to become decoupled from any explicit reference to Randall's video and enter the lexicon as a synonym for, dunno, "indifference" ("aggressive indifference"?). That would be pretty awesome for Randall, and awesome to have seen it happen.

1 As an aside, from an editorial perspective, the article is filled with cultural references and is too clever by half, as people say. Woe onto the non-English-as-first-language speaker (non-American?) who reads this. Entertaining, tho. :-)