The Language of Computing

While visiting my older daughter, Elizabeth, at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, I attended a talk given by Jon Lindsay, Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Global Affairs at U of Toronto. The seminar was ostensibly about cyber security, but Lindsay mentioned a few things that set me thinking.

Consider the language we use when we talk about computers: files, procedures, programs, processes, directories, folders.

These terms derive directly from large institutions; more specifically, large business and government institutions. In a way, this makes sense, because keeping track of vast amounts of data is certainly the purview of large institutions?

But why these institutions? Why not a laboratory or library paradigm? Why not something unique? David Bryant shares some interesting insights on how our language of computing evolved over time, and we all discuss changes going forward, given the more distributed nature of computing.


David makes a big switch in his choice of mobile email clients, receives his Sunjack Lightstick Mini, and likes a new tool for jumping dead batteries. He’s also taking a shine to his recently acquired Dell U3415W, including searching for new wallpaper.

Eric continues his seemingly endless search for a new laptop but has made a key decision regarding which OS he’ll be using going forward. He also talks about a cool set of modular interface tools for the PC developed by Palette Gear.

My lovely Nikon D500 took a flyer recently, ended up damaged enough to require sending off to Nikon to repair. So I found an alternative which is almost as good. My Echo Dot is now fully functional, and I’ve discovered that Amazon’s Alexa integrates pretty well with Audible — no surprise, since Amazon owns Audible. The Audible app on iOS has also improved leaps and bounds since I last used it a couple of years ago.

Oh, yeah, and headphones. I once more feed my headphone addiction.


Everyone’s seen Doctor Strange except me. I need to change that in the near future… David and Eric rave some more about HBO’s Westworld series. Eric watches some schlocky movies, David picks up Firewatch from Steam, and notes that the Sega Genesis will be making a comeback next year.

I find Call of Duty: Infinite War’s single-player campaign to be a blast, but I’m now completely absorbed in Dishonored 2. When I’m not playing Arkane’s latest wonder, I’ve been enjoying Season 2 of Supergirl. And we’ve got reserved seats for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the new movie set in the Potterverse. And if you like The Expanse TV series, give the audio books a try. Certainly Leviathan Wakes is a great listen.

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