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It's not a backslash!

© March 2008 Anthony Lawrence

Oh, I do get grumpy. You'll hear this on the radio and TV: "Just go to www.foobar.com backslash special offer!".. and, curmudgeon that I am, I start yelling "It's not a backslash, you bleeping idiot!"

That's embarassing. People stare at me - especially since they, deluded by Windows and reinforced by constant repetition in media, likely are quite sure that "/" is indeed a backslash - duh!

I really need to learn to just keep my mouth shut. If conveniently near an Internet connected computer I could quickly show them the error of their belief, but even then I've seen people shrug their shoulders and insist that "\" is a slash.. if Mighty Microsoft says so, it must be true, right? But, but, I splutter, Microsoft says no such thing. For example I submit https://support.microsoft.com/kb/870839 which plainly explains a bug in Microsoft Excel thusly:

When you open a Microsoft Excel for Windows workbook in Microsoft Excel 2004 for Mac, the yen character may appear as a backslash (\).

See? Even Microsoft knows what a backslash is.

It could be worse. If they say "Log in to www.foobar.com backslash special offer!" I turn purple. Of course it's always possible that you really will have to log in that site, but I doubt it. No doubt the people that write this junk think it's cool computer talk, but it of course it really isn't: it's dumb, I don't know beans about computers talk. And again it causes people to look at me like I'm the crazy one.. well, ok, maybe I was shouting a little..

Then there's the security stuff. Last night I watched an old NCIS episode.. just happened to flip into it as the boss told some young lass that she needed to break into a Pentagon computer. I'm not sure what the point of all this was, but soon that woman and another man were hacking away at their keyboards and the screen was full of hexadecimal dumps interspersed with blinking red "Access Denied!" lines. Oh yeah, I'm sure that's how the Pentagon does it - plain old passwords. And I'm sure they'd let you keep guessing as long as you like, too. Those attempts wouldn't attract any attention at all.. yeah, right.

Oh, TV can be so annoying.. I don't know why I bother yelling at it when no one is here to "shush" me.

Finally, I don't like blurred out logos, expecially when I can tell from the keyboard or the screen that yes, it is a Mac. What's the point of that blurriness over the Apple logo on the back of the cover? You tried to get them to pay for it appearing and they said "no" so you spitefully blur it out? Is that the reason? Or is it some incredibly dumb legal thing? I'd like to know.. in the meantime I'll just keep shouting "I KNOW that's a Mac, idiot!".. why are you looking at me like there's something wrong with ME? I'm not the one who doesn't know what a backslash is, dammit!

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Tue Mar 25 02:13:49 2008: 3888   JohnB

I share your outrage, although I've managed to master my urge to scream out in frustration.

My only thought on the Mac thing is the money angle. I've seen Dells blurred out, too. I'm guessing they do it to add value to product placement for pay. But I'm not too concerned because Apple seems to be in a good enough place now; they don't need (more) free advertising.

Tue Mar 25 11:20:02 2008: 3891   TonyLawrence

True. I don't really scream - well, internally I do :-)

Tue Mar 25 15:13:32 2008: 3893   rbailin

Re: (forward) slash vs. backslash

It's a moot point. If you type in www.foobar.com\specialoffer both IE and FF (and, I assume, most other browsers) helpfully change the backslash to a forward slash. I heard the same radio commercial as you probably did from an Ontario travel website and assumed it was one of those Canadian English colour spelling transforms.


Tue Mar 25 15:28:15 2008: 3894   TonyLawrence

My FF doesn't do that.. nor does Safari. Opera does.

Wed Mar 26 13:47:02 2008: 3899   BigDumbDinosaur

BTW, a / is called a virgule, just as a # is called an octothorpe. Thought I'd add to the trivia quotient today. <Grin>

Almost as annoying as people calling a virgule a backslash are those who refer to hard drive storage as "memory."

Wed Mar 26 13:59:31 2008: 3900   TonyLawrence

Oh, yeah, memory.. hate that :-)

Tue May 11 13:24:17 2010: 8583   dave


I'm a little late to this...
i just noticed an actual ad on line that just wrote out 'BACKSLASH' now calling a hard drive memory is an innocent mistake but backslash... IF YOU DON'T KNOW THE RIGHT WORD: JUST SAY SLASH


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