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Author Topic: Please tell me I'm not the only one baffled by things like this.  (Read 9506 times)
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JonLeung
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« on: January 07, 2010, 09:52:49 PM »

A real conversation today, only partly paraphrased:

Co-worker: So, Jon, you're the expert in this kind of thing.  A colon and an end bracket is a smiley, right?  (She meant "end parenthesis", but I knew what she meant.)

Me: That would be, um, yeah, a smile.

Co-worker: Ah, okay.

Me: As opposed to, you know, the other "bracket", which would be a frown, 'cause the mouth goes the other way.  (Said as if it was something I expected she already knew, especially since I really thought she did at the time.)

Co-worker: A mouth?

Jon: Well, yeah, what else would that be?

I can't remember the text that follows but then there was the sudden realization that she never knew all this time that a smiley is a literal rotation of some text characters that becomes a pictogram of a face.  I was rather amazed as I know she's seen this kind of thing in her emails for years.  I know for a fact she knew what a smiley was when she asked me a similar question four or five years ago, but apparently she saw colons and parentheses and made a connection to them being expressions but never actually saw that they were faces.  I'm a very visually-oriented person and to me it's so strange that anyone computer-literate could go this long without actually seeing the face; I don't even have to turn my head to imagine what I think should be obvious.  It's two dots and a curved line.  Two eyes and a mouth.  Seriously.  Facepalm moment.

She wasn't angry at my expression of disbelief (please tell me I'm not the only one that would be shocked given the circumstances), but then she asked me, as if it was on the same level, if I knew the average for punters (her son plays university football).

Jon: That's not even a fair comparison.  I wouldn't know that because that's a fact that either you know or don't know.  In the case of this emoticon, what it means is already there in front of me.  You just tilt your head and look at it to "decipher" it.

Another co-worker: But how would she know to look at it that way?

Me: HOW COULD YOU NOT SEE IT???

Yes, neither co-worker spends a lot of time on the computer at home, and when they do, they're not going on forums using 1337sp33k.  But I would've thought everyone would be familiar with the most common emoticon of them all, a basic smiley, and the logic as to why it's considered a smiley.  They're giving the Internet community too much credit if they think emoticons, slang terms, and "leetspeek" are made with no basis at all in something.

I don't know if this is more or less bizarre than my "aunt" (not really) who uses a computer at work but doesn't know how to operate an ATM, or that guy I met while on jury duty who claimed to be a gamer but didn't know who Mario is.  There are some strange disconnects here.

It's not like I did a literal facepalm at that moment, and quickly tried to make it clear I wasn't being judgmental.  But it still baffles me.  Anyone else experience situations like this?
« Last Edit: January 07, 2010, 09:55:51 PM by JonLeung » Logged
StarFighters76
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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2010, 10:58:54 PM »

LOL Sounds like someone needs a hug for sure.
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Revned
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2010, 12:31:43 AM »

I like how Gmail's built-in chat animates emoticons -- it actually rotates the symbols.

Speaking of "lol", it bugs me when people who don't use the Internet much think it actually stands for "Laugh Out Loud". It hasn't been an acronym since the 90s, just an expression.
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DarkWolf
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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2010, 04:58:57 AM »

People interpret visual information differently.  And I think everyone has at least one or two things they remain ignorant of until much later in life even though they should probably know it.  Give the girl a break.

Also, lol does stand for "laugh out loud" last time I checked...
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JonLeung
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2010, 05:49:07 AM »

Well, maybe I am being harsh.

She's a smart lady and has used computers for years, otherwise I wouldn't have been so surprised.  I'm sure there are people who don't know these things but if they weren't exposed to it, it'd be more understandable.  Maybe I'll use more smileys in my emails to her, including less common ones, and she'll pick up on these things.

I've found that I'm more visually-oriented than most people - I've had arguments (not heated ones) with people about the differences between cyan and turquoise (the trump card is that turquoise is a type of cyan, so I don't know why people continue to use turquoise when they're not sure), and I'm the guy who can always find something to tweak on Excel spreadsheets to make them more aesthetically pleasing (as well as functional).  I know there are more examples but I can't think of them at the moment.
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Rew
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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2010, 06:25:22 AM »

Smiley
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TerraEsperZ
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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2010, 06:39:05 AM »

I'd give her a break too. We all have moments like that where we're baffled that someone else can't see something that we fell is completely obvious, and then it happens to us!
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JonLeung
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2010, 06:52:54 AM »

I guess I'm a little hypocritical since I've run a web site for almost seven years and still am clueless about a lot of HTML.  >_>  Revned pointed out some strange code this very week.

Though I still don't think it's on the same level as the smiley thing - I can't just tilt my head to see what the proper HTML should be - but I guess it's similar enough to some of you guys who practically breathe code.

And I think what Revned meant about "LOL" not standing for "laugh(ing) out loud" is that few people actually laugh audibly at their computers (or whatever they're writing that on) when they use "LOL".  It's kind of become a word on its own, hence variations like "lawl", "lololol", "lulz", etc.  It's like "DVD" and "SATs", which officially don't stand for anything anymore even though they used to.
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Maxim
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2010, 09:43:15 AM »

As a coder, I have to say... HTML isn't code. It's (very simple) markup. Once you get onto real code (that is very intolerant of errors) you can't really consider it to be the same.

I'd only say "lol" if I had really laughed out loud. If I didn't laugh, it wasn't very funny, why say it is?
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Revned
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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2010, 11:52:10 AM »

I'm a quiet person and very rarely laugh out loud when I'm alone. There isn't really a better way to react to humor. "Ha ha" just seems sarcastic. Most people I chat with use it like this, too.
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RT 55J
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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2010, 08:32:42 PM »

I rarely laugh out loud at all, but that's mostly because my laughing is practically inaudible. Tongue
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JonLeung
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« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2010, 07:35:59 AM »

Funny, CNN.com had an article about LOLing which I read yesterday...

Okay, here's another one I can't not mention, from last evening at dinner...

---

Mom: I don't know why on "Health Matters" today they said that too much salt is bad for you.  Everyone should know that.  I knew that over thirty years ago.  And that's why you shouldn't put too much salt in your food.

Me: I don't put too much salt in my food.  Sure, I like salt, but I don't usually make the effort to add it.

Mom: Yeah, but you keep your cream of mushroom soup salty by not adding water.

(I follow the instructions when making Campbell's soup, which specifically say not to add water.  I like it thick and salty, just as it's supposed to be.  My mom always makes a point to add a fair bit of water which thins it out and dilutes the saltiness.  Though I've pointed out on the label that water isn't meant to be added, she keeps doing it anyway, and feels a need to keep recommending it.)

Me: (blink) Okay, but what does adding water do?

Mom: It makes it less salty.

Me: I get that, but don't you still drink all the soup?

Mom: Yes.

Me: So if you drink all the soup, aren't you still ingesting all the salt?

Mom: No.

Me: (pause) Okay, look.  The soup has salt in it.  You add water, so now you're drinking soup plus water.  You haven't taken the salt out.  The water does not remove the salt.

Mom: But it makes it less salty.

Me: Yes, but it's not the taste that's unhealthy, it's the salt itself, which is still there, so when you drink all the soup, you're still taking in the same amount of salt.

Mom: But at least it tastes better.

Me: (facepalm)

---

I think my mom has trouble seeing salt and saltiness as separate things.  I'm guessing (though I could be wrong) that it's a language thing.  I recall we've had other discussions that arose from her confusion with words since in Chinese there seem to be fewer words than in English.  Also, my mom would be right if she had mentioned that by diluting the soup with water and hence doubling the volume, she would be ingesting less salt if she was still going to have the same number of bowls (ie. opening one can of soup instead of two, but still getting two bowls out of it).  However, she did say in this hypothetical case that she was going to have it all, and I was strictly talking about the raw "amount" of salt in a single meal, not as a percentage or of "salt density".  But maybe it's healthier just because there's more water in it.  But then if I enjoy unadulterated cream of mushroom soup and then chase it with a glass of water, wouldn't that be the same thing?

And even if I'm flat-out wrong somehow, my mom's not very good at expressing any logic that there may be.
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Maxim
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« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2010, 09:06:25 AM »

Chinese tends to me more economical with words rather than making a new one (for example: "bus" is 公共汽车, literally "public use gas-powered vehicle"), yet often has several alternative ways of saying the same thing that are only used in particular idioms or to double up with the common word when used alone to avoid it being a single syllable.

Try having the discussion where you ask what is Chinese for "cousin", or "uncle".

Bonus parents not getting it story:

My mum (yes I'm English) was picking up on the carbon footprint/save electricity deal, where you're supposed to turn your electrical appliances off when you're not using them instead of leaving them on standby. She explained that she couldn't do that for the microwave because the wall power switch wasn't accessible, but she had made it so the clock said --:-- instead of the time, "which will save electricity because it's smaller". I tried to explain that the standby electricity usage is almost 100% caused by things other than the standby LED or clock display, but she didn't understand how that could be.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2010, 09:12:45 AM by Maxim » Logged
Revned
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« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2010, 01:35:01 PM »

Diluting soup reminds me of something my mom used to do when I was little. She would buy us all the sweet cereals, then she'd force us to mix them with Rice Krispies or other "boring" cereals. She robbed me of my childhood! Nowadays, though, I can't stand to have such sugary cereal.
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