Monday, September 22, 2014

2314 Digital Pinch

One of my personal fascinations is the way words evolve in our wonderful language. The advent of new technologies often drives this process.

So we have words like "post" and "tweet" being redirected to new actions. "Tweet" is only rarely used these days to indicate a sound emerging from a bird, but used in practically every sentence when referencing some hard or soft news item about world events or celebrities.

Likewise, "posting" has evolved to mean exposing yourself on the internet in a variety of safe and unsafe ways, whether by you or someone you know, or a malicious hacker just looking for something bad to do when he finds your honeymoon night pictures on the cloud. Mooning on your honeymoon and actually taking a picture and storing it on a supposedly safer remote server is no longer safe.

"Cloud," BTW, still means something insubstantial and unreliable. Which can sometimes cause a flood of destructiveness.

Anyhow, I heard a guy talking the other day about the motions his fingers use on his touchscreen devices. Tablets or smartphones, you still have to use certain digital gestures to get action. "Digital" in this sense being the original meaning, involving actual digits we sometimes call fingers. 

The words for those gestures are "tapping," "pinching" and "swiping." I intuitively grasped the meaning of "tapping" right away. "Swiping" is also pretty self-explanatory. You swipe your finger across the screen to open, close, and move stuff around.

"Pinching," however, is problematic. When you pinch an image on a digital device you make it smaller. So what is the word for when you do the opposite of pinch and make it larger? 

Spreading? Not so good. But it's alternative, "anti-pinching" is even worse.

Sounds like a wine-guzzling family Thanksgiving dinner gone bad.   

America, ya gotta love it. 

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