News Highlights: In a word, computer culture gives ordinary words a reboot
To say computers are everywhere is an understatement. Whether we’re working, playing, shopping, or just relaxing, computers probably play a role. But it’s not just our daily existence that these smart devices affect, they also change the meaning of words.
Consider this well-known pair of conjugation words. “Bit” previously referred to a small amount of something, but is now a basic unit of computer information. The word, which is the contraction of ‘binary number’, was coined by John Tukey in 1947. ‘Pixel’, the smallest controllable element of an image on the screen, is a shortened version of ‘picture element’.
We get around this world of pixels and bits by means of a browser, which used to describe a person searching stores and libraries, but is now a term for a computer program with a graphical user interface for navigating between web pages.
These pages probably don’t exist on our computers, but in the cloud. Of course, they are not in a large stratocumulus cloud in the sky, they are accessible on the Internet instead of on our computers.
We navigate those web pages with the help of a cursor, which is a Latin …
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