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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

July
25
2007
10:09 am
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No, it’s not a post about the duck who walks into store and asks for some duck food.  Although, that’s a pretty good joke.

I’m going to do a little computer geek education here. 

Repeat after me:

           “Forward slash is pronounced ‘slash’

(I listen to you state this)  Ok, good.  Now repeat after me:

           “Backward slash is pronounced ‘whack’

(I again listen to you state this)

There, now don’t you feel better?  I know I do. 

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not trying to get everyone in a more violent state of mind with all the slashing and whacking.  We already “boot” up our computer, and when it’s messed up, it “crashes.”  When something’s wrong, we use terms such as “hung” or “down” or “locked up”, each of which denotes a criminal punishment or something similar.  I’m sure you could think of more terms that apply to the computer that aren’t too rosy. 

Even if you used the “proper” terms of forward slash and backslash, they still sound like kung fu to me.

Note: there are some sites who keep referring to the forward slash as “whack”, but they’re just plain wrong.  Wrong, I tells you!  I mean think about it – you want to be productive, quick and clear.  Single syllables work best for that.  Forward slash already has the term “slash” and why would you then take up your other single syllable word “whack” to just duplicate the term?  That’s just plain stupid.

Here’s a quick reference you can bookmark, print or otherwise implant into your brain.


slash

    Forward slash. aka ‘slash’.
This is the one that shares the question mark on the keyboard. It’s used in file paths on Unix/Linux systems and in URL’s like http://whall.org/blog.  And, as you might have noticed in the previous sentence, it can be used to join two similar words such as Unix and Linux to create a combo-word that helps the reader understand a more complete meaning.  I use slash a lot in this context/meaning.


slash
slash

    Double Forward slash. aka ‘slash slash’.
This is just two slashes, and is most often seen in a URL, like http://, which is pronounced H, T, T, P, colon slash slash.  Slash slash is also used as a commenting delimiter in some programming languages like javascript.


whack

    Backslash. aka ‘whack’.
This is the one that’s usually above the Enter key, and shares the pipe symbol | on the keyboard. It’s commonly used with file paths on a Windows box, like c:\windows\system32.


whack
whack

    Double Backslash. aka ‘whack whack’.
A UNC in the Windows world uses these, for example \\server\share. Forward slashes won’t work, so it’s important to use the right term. When someone says “whack whack ringo whack share” they mean \\ringo\share, and that means there’s a file share called “share” on a server named “ringo”.

Maybe I should make a petition…  In fact, I just did.  Sign my petition!

And lo, the people did comment thus:

14 Comments

  1. Sheila says:

    Ok. Christy was right. You ARE a bigger geek than Dennis.

  2. whall says:

    I’m confused. Was there ever any doubt?

  3. whall says:

    So, didja sign my petition or whut?

  4. Poppy says:

    In my lifetime of being in the IT industry I have never heard \ described as whack. And all my friends are programmers and SAs.

  5. whall says:

    What do they use for backslash? Like when saying a UNC? \\poppy\cedes\nothing.txt ?

  6. Poppy says:

    “backslash” 🙂

  7. Poppy says:

    (If I am trying to communicate to a client I say “backslash, which is the slash directly above the Enter key” and they type question mark slash instead. Because they’re smaht.)

  8. Michelle says:

    In my fourteen years in the industry, it has ALWAYS been “whack whack”.

    Now, that having been said, when I work with clients, unless they are in their 30’s, they don’t know “whack”. Most of the younguns’ have never heard “whack”, so you have to pretty much spell it out for them.

  9. Poppy says:

    So weird, I’m in my 30s, and so are all my friends/colleagues.

    Perhaps it’s regional?

    Or perhaps it’s taught in CS classes (which I took none of, I’m self taught) but hasn’t caught on out loud here.

  10. whall says:

    Poppy, I was thinking the same thing – maybe it’s regional. I’ve been using the term since about ’94 when I was @ Motorola. We supported Un*x, mac, and NT 3.51 was blossoming some at the time. Then as some of my jobs were more windows-oriented, using fileshares were increasingly common, and we detested Network Neighborhood as well as mapping drives all the time. A Drive mapping (ie, L: or “the ‘S’ drive”) always required the client to be configured in order to get to the drive, but if you use a UNC (\\server\share) then it was more “universal”, hence the name Universal Naming Convention.

    And naturally, with the increase of using \\server in vocal form, it got annoying to double up on all the syllables.

    Michelle, you could spell it out for them, or you could just whack them. That’ll learn ’em.

  11. Poppy says:

    I dunno, back in the 90s I worked with Un*x, Mac, Windows, and DOS. And then I went to jobs that used UNC. So I still don’t know why I wouldn’t know whack. 🙂

  12. whall says:

    Well now you know and can spread the gospel, sistah! I fear this will become a religious debate so might as well get on my side 🙂

  13. Poppy says:

    I’m just going to quietly start using it with my colleagues and see what happens.

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