words of 2003

With the end of the year around the corner it’s no surprise to see a slew of best of lists for 2003, but I didn’t expect to see a top ten lists of words for the year. Blog is the #2 word, which is kind of cool, but not nearly as cool as the amusing “new” words such as bling-bling, stog, tricked out, and “what up?”.

Then there’s the business lingo, with words like ping (I’ll ping you about that issue tomorrow), multitask and off line. I heard a non-technical person use the word ping once and gained a new respect for their technical knowledge until I discovered they had no idea what an ICMP packet was. My respect turned to disappointment and to this day I remain unimpressed with its usage.

Speaking of ping, here’s a tidbit of trivia. The man who wrote the ping program named it after the sound that a sonar makes. On his web site he also includes a review of the book, “The Story About PING” which I loved to read as a child. I’ve mentioned the book several times to friends, but no one had heard of it. It’s as if I have a bond with the beginnings of UNIX networking. Well, sort of…


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  1. I’ve used the word “ping” with you before too Dan, but it might interest you that I was using that word back in 1989-1991 while in the Navy. We would use a ping or bang on a pipe with a dog-wrench with one or two hits to confirm something, let someone know we were ready, or start/stop something. That was long before I knew anything about ICMP packets.

    Comment by jason on December 30, 2003 @ 9:19 am
  2. I also enjoyed the ping ducky book as a wee lad, but don’t use it too often out of ICMP context. When I was at Novell, an instructor of a course taught us that it was actually an acronym (I don’t remember what it was), but he was probably full of something.

    Comment by Anonymous on December 30, 2003 @ 4:31 pm
  3. Mike Muus (who wrote the ping utility) addressed that by saying, “From my point of view PING is not an acronym standing for Packet InterNet Grouper, it’s a sonar analogy. However, I’ve heard second-hand that Dave Mills offered this expansion of the name, so perhaps we’re both right.”

    Comment by dan on December 30, 2003 @ 4:57 pm

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