Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Exeunt from the C-suite

A nice coinage that showed up in my feed today, tho it's from an article that's a couple of years old:
'Execudus' in Redmond: Top Microsoft Execs Get Out
The quotation marks of course mean that this is a self-conscious usage. There are a couple of other instances of this term used in this way (and not, as I interpret it, as something to do with World of Warcraft); all seem to refer the same phenomenon of executives leaving Microsoft specifically. Some references don't include the quotation marks. Since I don't know WoW, I don't know how likely it is that the business-terminological mashup is inspired by the game. It's certainly understandable without any previous exposure to WoW.

The cited article is from 2011; it's possible that the term was pretty new then. A blogger for the Redmond Channel Partner site more or less suggests the newness of the term at that time:
Your editor is working on a story about Microsoft's recent executive departures (now known here as the Execudus), and this week one of the biggest names in Redmond is headed out the door.
I guess we'll have to see a similar exeunt from other companies before we can determine whether the word has legs.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

How do we do it? Volume

One thing (the only thing?) we can thank the NSA's vast snooping effort for is the popularization of the term bulk spying. Open up a newspaper (virtual or otherwise) this week and you'd have a hard time missing the term.

It doesn't look as if the term is new, though. The BBC used the term bulk espionage in a piece from 23 Feb 2000, and a student learning English asked the next day what bulk spying meant.

Are there earlier cites? I need different corpora to search through ...

Friday, October 18, 2013

An assortment in advance

I was assigned the task today of acquiring a batch of donuts for my group at work. At the donut place I told the girl I wanted a dozen, and she said I could choose the ones I wanted, or alternatively, they had boxes of preassorted donuts.

The pre- part is clear. Why not preselected? When I roll that one around in my mind, it gives the feeling of deliberateness to the selection process. Do they mean that there's some randomness in their assortment? Too bad I didn't have the presence of mind to ask how their preassorting process works.

They are not alone in using the term. I found about 500 legitimate hits on Google. As I look through the listings, I'm not sure I can detect a definitive pattern. Here are some examples:
... and more.

I actually have access to a kind of subject-matter expert; my daughter works at a store that sells chocolates. I asked her whether they sell "preassorted" collections. No, she said; they use the terms pre-packed or just assorted. Both of which make sense to me.

So I'm still a little unclear on what preassorted conveys that preselected doesn't. Any ideas?

Monday, June 24, 2013

The singularity of premise

One of my colleagues recently sent me a mild complaint about the use of premise in this context:
AWS Direct Connect makes it easy to establish a dedicated network connection from your premise to AWS. Using AWS Direct Connect, you can establish private connectivity between AWS and your datacenter, office, or colocation environment [...]
Specifically, of course, the observation is that as used in this context, the term should be premises, as per the second definition here:

It seems possible to me that premise in the usage above might be an example of a singular back-formation from what is in effect a mass noun (premises), along the lines of pease > peas > pea. (See also cherry.) Thus, premises in this context is being interpreted as a plural—We visited the company's [many] premises.

If this analysis is true, it seems like the tendency to think of the land-oriented premise as singular might be helped along by the existence of premise as an existing singular, albeit with a different meaning.

Someone else pointed out that the term on-premise has some traction. Assuming that Mr. Google is correctly interpreting my query, that term seems to have been a variant with equal frequency for a while of on-premises:

It is a bit curious to me that the lines diverge in the 1980s and then on-premises starts to head back downward. However, that might be due to the query, not to actual usage.

What do you think? Do you use and/or do you hear premise as a singular being used to refer to a facility or building?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

0day, 0dear

Here are a couple of small but interesting wordy things in a post by Brian Krebs about the recent Java (programming language) security vulnerability:
On Sunday, Oracle rushed out a fix for a critical bug in Java that had been folded into exploit kits, crimeware made to automate the exploitation of computers via Web browser vulnerabilities.
The term malware is well established, of course. But crimeware is a different beast; it's not what the bad guys put on your computer to perform their dirty deeds, but the software that they use to build their exploits in the first place. As the mighty Wikipedia puts it, crimeware is "a class of malware designed specifically to automate cybercrime." Later in the article, Krebs refers to "weaponized versions of the exploit," which gets across the idea also. There's a book:

In the same paragraph, Krebs uses another interesting term that's not that unusual, but that is misrepresented by the font of the article. Let me show you a picture:

A body who's not attuned to the font (and who's reading it at normal size) might read this as oday. But it's 0day (zero-day), with the digit thwarted by the font (Georgia, it looks like). Oday is just leet-y shorthand for zero-day, an adjective meaning "pertaining to a program that exploits a computer security vulnerability before security experts can address it." Indeed, searching for "0day" (mit de zero) directs you to Zero-day attack high in your results. (Searching for oday gets you nothing interesting, in case you were wondering.)

And that's about as much fun as I can extract from this one article today.