Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Business news from our house

September 3, 2016

In today’s NYT Business news on-line, in hard copy tomorrow (Sunday): “A Warrior Against Junk Mail at Yahoo Looks Out for Mom, Too”  (as told to Patricia R. Olsen), on Elizabeth Zwicky, 51, an anti-spam architect at Yahoo in Sunnyvale, Calif.

A very brief interview. Best quote:

Do you think your job will be obsolete one day?

No. Criminals have gotten better and better at designing spam. It may mutate, but it’s not going to stop. Spam is where evil meets advertising, and no one has ever gotten rid of either one.

Geek compounds

June 4, 2016

Today’s Zippy, returning to Pancake Circus, to trade geek compounds:


Three things: the expressions being traded, which start out in panel 1 as N + N compounds from the tech world, both Ns monosyllables, and then get a bit more varied, but still with accent on the initial syllable (the default accentuation for  compounds); the final expression, FlapJax, certainly referring to flapjacks (a U.S. synonym for pancakes, as fits the Pancake Circus context) but possibly also to the fictional character Jax from the Mortal Combat games (in line with the tenchnogeek theme); and the re-use of the visual material from another Zippy cartoon, now with different text.


The snail days of summer

May 28, 2016

On the Comics Kingdom blog on Tuesday, for National Escargot Day (May 24th), ten cartoons on snails, all of them new to this blog. Some turn on the snail cartoon meme (having to do with slowness), many have to do with the slowness of postal services (snail mail, in the rhyming retronym), the rest deal with other gastropodal matters.


Programmer paintings

May 21, 2016

From Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky, a link to the Tumblr site “Classic Programmer Paintings”, in which paintings (some famous, some genre paintings chosen for their pictorial content) are captioned with jokes about the life of programming. Two examples (both from painters new to me):


Ivan Bilibin, “Koschei the Deathless” from Marya Morevna (1900): “Senior security engineer on his way to deliver comments to developers”


Osman Hamdi Bey, “The Tortoise Trainer” (1906): “The Shell Scripter”

(a play involving shell program ‘a program that provides an interface between the user and the operating system’ (NOAD2))


Anti-spam architect (plus a mathemagician)

May 21, 2016

The anti-spam architect would be Elizabeth Zwicky in a “Yahoo Women in Technology Profile” by Michael McGovern (Talent Community Manager at Yahoo!) on the 18th. The piece is in the form of an interview, but with questions submitted in writing by McGovern and answers written out by EDZ, so you get the full flavor of her writing — lucid, pointed, often wry. There are photos: one of EDZ with her team, one an unposed head shot of her which catches her nicely. It’s a bit too light, a consequence of the fact that the photographer (Opal Eleanor Armstrong Zwicky, then age 6) was a novice at the camera, though she already had a good eye):



Morning name: bullhorn

March 28, 2016

Yesterday’s morning name, a word that evokes for me a piece of electronic technology for amplifying the human voice, like a megaphone but with a lot more power built into it. An example, with a pistol handgrip for turning it on and off:


The older non-electronic object, which I refer to simply as a megaphone, deployed by a German lifeguard in 1969 and by a swimmer in an Archie comic from 1967:



The device in #2 and #3 obviously came first (though it seems not to be especially old), since it was, as I can attest from personal experience, around for some time before devices like #1 appeared, because the electronic devices weren’t possible before the invention of the transistor.


Han Dynasty again

March 19, 2016

Yesterday I wrote:

On Facebook recently, Robert Coren reported on a possible problem with the website for a Han Dynasty restaurant — handynasty — because it was subject to misparsing as handy + nasty.

And then the new issue (March 31st) of the New Yorker arrived, with a restaurant review (by Sylvia Killingsworth) of the Han Dynasty at 215 W. 85th St. in Manhattan — a review that even gets in a note about problems with its web address.


Dick Tracy visits Mother Goose

November 6, 2015

Today’s Mother Goose and Grimm:

From Wikipedia:

On January 13, 1946, the 2-Way Wrist Radio became one of the strip’s most immediately recognizable icons, worn as a wristwatch by Tracy and members of the police force, and may have inspired later smartwatches. The 2-Way Wrist Radio was upgraded to a 2-Way Wrist TV in 1964.

Tracy stuff on this blog in a posting of 7/18/12.

Kids these days

May 29, 2015

Today’s One Big Happy, in which Joe seems not to be fully plugged in:

What comes at the end? A top-level domain name, of course, or so thinks a child in these modern times.

And then, as an bonus, Ruthie mistakes her dad’s Y (the letter name) for why (the question word).

The sexy Snapchat converter

May 9, 2015

It’s been some time since I posted a Dinosaur Comics — the last was on September 5th — but now here’s yesterday’s strip, in which T-Rex has a genius idea for improving e-mail:

Two notes: (1) The Wikipedia page for the cartoon describes it as “a constrained webcomic”, the constraint in this case being that every strip has the same images for the six panels; what’s new is the text. (2) An inventory of Dinosaur Comics postings on Language Log and this blog is now available as a Page on this blog.