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Two CS professors did clash over the tilde
Authored by: jmzrsky on Feb 25, '05 12:31:46AM

... and its proper name, in a workshop I attended. In the middle of some dry discussion of some obscure programming syntax, one of them casually mentioned "a twiddle" while scribbling a tilde on the whiteboard. The other asked what a twiddle was - "do you mean a tilde?" "Sure, but I call it a twiddle, just as we say 'bang' instead of 'exclamation point'." "But 'bang' is shorter - 'twiddle' isn't!" And so forth. It was a much livelier topic than anything else that day!

> If programers called a tilde a "squiggly" ...

Just don't get me started on what to call the # character ... :)



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Two CS professors did clash over the tilde
Authored by: DavidRavenMoon on Feb 25, '05 09:45:16AM

> Just don't get me started on what to call the # character ... :)

Thank you! :)

How about...

Number sign, hash, cross-hatch, pound sign, square, tictacktoe, and... octothorpe!

I call it a number sign.

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G4/466, 1 GB, Mac OS X 10.3.8



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Apple's fertility symbols
Authored by: jmzrsky on Feb 26, '05 04:01:25AM

I've heard "grid" too (used as a name for #). But as with "bang" for ! and "twiddle" for ~, it was a bolder-geek-than-I using it. Of special relevance to us Macheads is the strange coincidence linking the cartographic origins of the # and its florid twin, Apple's "command key" symbol:

1. The #, a cartographic symbol for "village", is called (in that context) the octothorp(e) because it once reminded someone of eight fields surrounding a central village square (thorp = village). See http://onlinedictionary.datasegment.com/word/pound+sign and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorp

2. Apple's "command key" is a cartographic symbol (once?) used in Swedish campgrounds to denote something worth seeing. Apparently it's a "floral symbol". See http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=Swedish_Campground.txt

What links them is not only their form (the command key looks like a floral outgrowth of the #) but also the concept of fertility: the # carries, in its interstices, the yielding soil of ancient English fields; while the command key connotes a flower unfolding its tender petals, an object of beauty to frolicking Swedish campers.

Coincidence? Before answering, notice the symbol next to the command key on your keyboard: the apple, Biblical sign of fertility and sin. And someone has already taken the first bite! (Probably one of those Swedish campers ...) ;-P



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Apple's fertility symbols
Authored by: DavidRavenMoon on Feb 26, '05 10:37:52AM

I knew that one about the Command key being "a place of interest."

Interestingly about the Apple logo, they started off with a picture of Sir Isaac Newton sitting under a tree with a portion of a William Wordsworth poem. Jobs thought it was too cerebral and not easily reproduced at small sizes, so he asked Rob Janov the art director for their PR firm to design something better. He did a black silhouette of an apple, but thought it looked like a tomato, and wanted to simplify it, so he took a "byte" out of it, and added the six colors. Jean-Louis Gassée said of it "One of the deep mysteries to me is our logo, the symbol of lust and knowledge, bitten into, all crossed with the colors of the rainbow in the wrong order. You couldn't dream of a more appropriate logo: lust, knowledge, hope and anarchy."

And remember that the Apple I kit was priced at $666!

I don't think any other company has had such a sense of humor and irony.

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G4/466, 1 GB, Mac OS X 10.3.8



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