About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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While it may seem counter-intuitive, teaching is an amazing way of learning -- I learned more about programming by teaching it to others than I did by actually writing code. Different developers have different (sometimes way different) ideas about what is good code, and by discussing it with them, you grow (even if you were right in the first place). It also helps solidify your own arguments by forcing you to actually think them through and explain them in ways that others can understand.

Kent Sharkey



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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 11/20/2017

Totals
Posts - 2461
Comments - 2565
Hits - 2,000,528

Averages
Entries/day - 0.47
Comments/entry - 1.04
Hits/day - 380

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 8:12 AM Pacific


  03:19 PM

Another Friday, another pair of words: one new (to me), one with an unexpected etymology.

Today's new word is Graygler (alternative: Greygler), which is a portmanteau of gray(-haired) and Googler. Definition: a Google employee who is "old," definition of old not clearly defined. ("Over 40" is one proposal I've seen, gah.) The term isn't particularly new; Forbes used it (in quotation marks) in 2012. Google explicitly uses this term on its Diversity page, under a picture of someone who is, yup, gray-haired.


I think that I first ran across this term in an article about how, um, old people shouldn't work so hard. It piqued my interest first because I am, of course, in that demographic. I also have an ongoing interest in what people who work someplace call themselves (an endonym? Maybe). I believe this is the first time I've found an example of a subgenre of employees.

On to unexpected etymology. Today's is plain old thing. Probably most people would agree that the primary definition is "an entity of any kind," to quote the OED, with many, many variations:
Try turning that thing on the side of the box.
It's a Southern thing.
She and he have a thing going.
It's just one of those things.
I couldn't see a thing.
... etc.
What's unexpected here is that in the way-back history of English, a thing referred to a meeting, council, or assembly. This sense of thing in English is pretty much gone, but there are cognates in other Germanic languages: in German, a Ding is an assembly; in Swedish, the related term is ting.

The Grammarphobia blog has a great writeup of all this, which is where it came to my attention:

The thing about thing

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