I’m sitting at my desktop computer. Before me are my keyboard, my mouse, my monitor.
Behind me sits my broadband modem, my backup hard drive, my wireless access point, and my laptop computer. My printer’s over there *points* and there’s a stack of compact discs on the floor just *points* there.
I am completely bored with every word in the above three sentences.
“Computer” is such an old word, despite its most common meaning. It’s even more generic than calculator, which is a pretty stock standard little device that hasn’t changed its appearance in a number of years. We still talk about personal computers (duh), desktop computers (instead of room-sized electronic caves), laptop computers (instead of desktops), and keyboards (it’s a board of keys. We get it now).
Automobiles are just cars now, mobile telephones are just phones… why can’t computer stuff get nice modern names too?
I think “Wifi” was a good start, but it’s such a silly word nobody took it seriously, and so we still sell wireless access points. We don’t even call FM radio “wireless” anymore; we need to move on and start calling it RadioLAN (“W-LAN” is awkward to type and say). This is a more annoying problem than you think – have you ever tried to explain the difference between wireless networking and wireless internet without spontaneously combusting?
Desktops and laptops are okay – use both words in the same sentence and people can separate the two ideas in their heads. For some people, though, they’re still just “computers”, and calling the desktops “towers” offends my love of small computers. One term you may not have heard is deskside, which is vastly underused and IMHO outrageously cool.
Here’s a sign computer nomenclature is far behind that of cars: Top Gear throws the words “supercar” and “hypercar” around like confetti, and they do it while talking about unbelievably awesome things. Meanwhile, a supercomputer is still something that takes up a room and predicts the sodding weather for a living, and hypercomputers are so unexplored, Wikipedia still describes them as hypothetical.
I dunno what to do about modems. I instantly hate on sight people who talk about input and output (unless they’re discussing RAID 5), or the super information highway (even if they’re being ironic). We should all be calling them gateways, and better distinguish between those, and routers, and wireless access points, so when we make all-in-one devices it doesn’t take half an hour to explain what they actually do.
“CD” is alright, and “DVD” is still cool, but compact discs aren’t compact anymore, and if you still refer to computer stuff as “digital” then you’re as irrelevant as the word analogue.
Bluray and Bluetooth are stupid words too; is anybody else as bored of blue as I am? I bought a new LED fan for my desktop this week, and it makes my room glow purple. It’s divine.
We seem to be over lasers now, probably because the general population’s realised we can’t make super burny handguns out of them (and the really cool ones are banned in my country, because idiots were pointing them at helicopters).
I’m happy with mice for the time being – mine would look like a stealth car, if it didn’t glow orange in places – but keyboards give me the shits. It’s 2008, and we can’t custom-order nice looking keyboards with our own exact layouts and shapes and functions? I’ve looked into this, and it seems if you don’t like what Logitech or Microsoft make, you’re completely screwed. Custom, made-to-order keyboards go to entities like airlines and point-of-sale outfits that need lots and lots of buttons that do weird non-normal-computery stuff, or people with serious disabilities. And they look like 20 year old model M boards.
Yes, I’ve seen the steampunk keyboard. No, I’m not impressed. I want a normal keyboard without the completely unused numberpad, but I don’t want a trendy “compact” keyboard that forces you to press a laptoppy Fn key to do normal everyday tasks. Gaming keyboards are sometimes pretty cool, but usually go in completely the wrong direction in terms of size (you could use the Logitech G15 as a land bridge between here and Saturn).