0727: "Trade Expert"

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0727: "Trade Expert"

Postby Qaanol » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:10 am UTC

Image
Title text: I mean, it's been almost twenty years. Now, it's possible you're simply embedding Windows directory paths in your URIs, but in that case you need more than just a short lecture.
http://www.xkcd.com/727/

The misapplied backslash thing has grated on me for a while. I like the implication from his present-tense verbs that our programmer hero pulls this stunt regularly.
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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby pleb_707 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:14 am UTC

news broadcasters who actually do this deserve to be drawn and quatered.
i have a friend at CBS, i told her that if she did that im taking her fist born child and training him in the ways of programing. she had nightmares for weeks

and...FIRST real post

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby Exüberance » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:16 am UTC

I never noticed this until recently when I used a Windows computer after having used Linux for the past few months. Why would you use the standard escape character as a folder seperator? Wwwwhhhhhyyyy?

I didn't even realize you could use backslashes instead of forwardslashes in URLs.
...oh wait, you can't. You'd think people would know their slashes from their backslashed by now.

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby chocolate.razorblades » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:16 am UTC

I thought I was the only one.

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby jspenguin » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:17 am UTC

Even worse is when the show an address with backslashes. I remember one ad for lifealert or some other product for seniors that contained a backslash. It made me wonder if any seniors were actually able to order their product online.

Code: Select all

from __future__ import skynet

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby Omegaton » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:17 am UTC

I guess it's a good thing I don't watch the news...

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby DreamTheEndless » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:19 am UTC

You sir, are my hero. Again.

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby aurumelectrum13 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:24 am UTC

Help! The comic isn't showing up!

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Re: "Trade Expert" discussion

Postby phlip » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:25 am UTC

Exüberance wrote:I didn't even realize you could use backslashes instead of forwardslashes in URLs.
...oh wait, you can't. You'd think people would know their slashes from their backslashed by now.

Well, you can... you could make a URI that had backslashes in it. And if you're talking to an IIS server, it'll even take it as a path separator, same as a forward slash. Say, this and this link to the same page.

Of course, backslashes aren't actually allowed in URIs, so you need to use %5C instead, but chances are your browser handles that. And, of course, this is only in the path segment... the two slashes between http: and the domain, and the one between the domain and the path, all need to be forward slashes. And they won't be treated as path separators by the browser, so any relative URIs will ignore them (if you're looking at a/b\c.html and it links to d.png, your browser will load a/d.png, not a/b\d.png). Basically, they act the same as any other symbol, like an underscore or whatever.
Last edited by phlip on Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:27 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
void ┻━┻︵​╰(ಠ_ಠ ⚠) {exit((int)⚠);}
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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby memcginn » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:26 am UTC

Okay, maybe now I'll remember that the backslash leans backward, because I will now associate it with Windows directories because of this comic. Of the two slashes available, one leans backwards, but the other one is drawn from right to left (top to bottom), which is backwards to my reading direction. I never could tell which one was "back"slash. But I might actually remember now.

Thank you, Randall!
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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby skine » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:27 am UTC

aurumelectrum13 wrote:Help! The comic isn't showing up!

You must be going to http:\\xkcd.com\

Edit: Actually, this still works just fine in Firefox.

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby glasnt » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:31 am UTC

I read that as Dr Steve Brule. ... for your health.


HI JOEE

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby aurumelectrum13 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:35 am UTC

skine wrote:
aurumelectrum13 wrote:Help! The comic isn't showing up!

You must be going to http:\\xkcd.com\

Edit: Actually, this still works just fine in Firefox.


I'm actually concerned. xkcd.com is showing Monday's comic. This saddens me.

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby TheAbstractor » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:36 am UTC

skine wrote:
aurumelectrum13 wrote:Help! The comic isn't showing up!

You must be going to http:\\xkcd.com\

Edit: Actually, this still works just fine in Firefox.


Chrome fixes it too.

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Re: "Trade Expert" discussion

Postby phlip » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:37 am UTC

memcginn wrote:I never could tell which one was "back"slash. But I might actually remember now.

To help you remember:
The standard slash is the one that's in a standard place on a QWERTY keyboard, next to comma and dot, and also on the numpad. It's the one that's used in standard english (like "and/or"), as a divided-by and fraction symbol (like "½"), in URIs, in the slanty-face emoticon (":-/"), and is the one that's more easily written by hand for a right-handed writer (it varies from person to person, of course, but right-handed writing tends to naturally slope in that direction, same as italic text).

The backslash, on the other hand, is squirreled away on the keyboard, and keyboard makers can't make up their minds on exactly where to hide it. It's used as an escape character in several programming languages and the *nix console, does stuff in TeX, and separates paths on Windows, and very little else.

aurumelectrum13 wrote:I'm actually concerned. xkcd.com is showing Monday's comic. This saddens me.
Works for me. Clear your cache.

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enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby RebeccaRGB » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:38 am UTC

Exüberance wrote:I never noticed this until recently when I used a Windows computer after having used Linux for the past few months. Why would you use the standard escape character as a folder seperator? Wwwwhhhhhyyyy?


The first version of MS-DOS used a flat file system; it didn't have directories. Since slashes weren't being used for anything, and couldn't appear in file names, Microsoft decided to use them for switches (Microsoft's name for command line options passed to MS-DOS commands) instead of the hyphen (-) used on Unix systems. When MS-DOS eventually gained a hierarchical file system, they couldn't use slashes because they were being used for switches, so they had to use the backslash instead. And of course, Windows has its origins in MS-DOS (it was originally just a graphical shell that ran on top of it) so it inherited the backslash separator.

Basically, it was Microsoft being stupid. :D
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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby gametaku » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:40 am UTC

TheAbstractor wrote:
skine wrote:
aurumelectrum13 wrote:Help! The comic isn't showing up!

You must be going to http:\\xkcd.com\

Edit: Actually, this still works just fine in Firefox.


Chrome fixes it too.


So does IE.

and / works in explorer as a path separator.

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby Almost in register » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:41 am UTC

I always yell "There are no backslashes on the Internet!" at the screen. (I realize there are certain exceptions, but overwhelmingly this is true.) Just save a syllable or two and say "slash".

Similarly, it drives me crazy when someone says, say, EST (Eastern Standard Time) when they really mean EDT (Eastern Daylight Time). Most of the time, the precision isn't necessary anyway. Better in that case to just say ET, which can be used year-round.

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby Magnanimous » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:45 am UTC

I was sort of expecting the alt text to be a joke about slash. (Of the fanfiction variety, that is.) Surely backslash must be much, much worse.

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby BlazeOrangeDeer » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:49 am UTC

I always just figure they say backslash because they think it sounds cooler or something, and have heard other people use the term without bothering to remember which character they were actually referring to.

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:53 am UTC

This bothers and confuses me. It bothers me, because of all times to misspell something, a URL is arguably the worst. You could conceivably misdirect people this way (in fact, this probably happens sometimes). It confuses me because backslashes are almost never used. Really, the character hardly even existed before computers (actually, it did, but I have no idea why). People use ordinary slashes all the time in everyday use and they correctly call them "slashes" in nearly every context. But there's that one context--URLs--that people somehow think are different. How did that happen?

I guess it must have resulted from confusion with Windows paths, but really, how often do you need to orally specify a directory path?

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby Steve the Pocket » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:55 am UTC

I just heard this recently, in a place I'd never expect to hear it for three reasons:

(A) It was a show on NPR (read by former head anchor Carl Kasell, who I'm sure is now very embarrassed to have discovered the mistake too late);
(B) It was an indirect quote from the guy who invented HTTP, who most certainly did not make this mistake in his original statement;
(C) It was in a limerick, two other lines of which had to be written to rhyme with it.

RebeccaRGB wrote:Basically, it was Microsoft being stupid. :D

"Stupid" in this case meaning "not copying UNIX", as it so often seems to when geeks use it. :roll:

Magnanimous wrote:I was sort of expecting the alt text to be a joke about slash. (Of the fanfiction variety, that is.) Surely backslash must be much, much worse.

Someone on another forum I used to frequent joked that backslash must be a non-canon heterosexual pairing in fanfiction. Whether that counts as "much much worse" depends on whether or not you're a stereotypical fanfiction writer.
Last edited by Steve the Pocket on Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:58 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby s0merand0mdude » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:57 am UTC

I always felt a bit of myself being destroyed by this, almost entirely because most anchors emphasize it when they say "backslash" in order to make sure people know what they're saying. It's just plain stupid. Journalists need to collectively step up their game on this.
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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby ejono » Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:07 am UTC

skine wrote:
aurumelectrum13 wrote:Help! The comic isn't showing up!

You must be going to http:\\xkcd.com\

Edit: Actually, this still works just fine in Firefox.


Not for me on my Mac with Firefox.

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby bookworm656 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:10 am UTC

Yeeeeessssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It drives me crazy when people do that! I've been known to yell at the screen when I hear that and other errors. Newscasters are also bad about using "damages" when they mean "damage." (Either that, or tornadoes have started suing people instead of tearing apart their houses. You never know, these days...)
Last edited by bookworm656 on Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:17 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby RebeccaRGB » Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:13 am UTC

Steve the Pocket wrote:
RebeccaRGB wrote:Basically, it was Microsoft being stupid. :D

"Stupid" in this case meaning "not copying UNIX", as it so often seems to when geeks use it. :roll:

Not really. Shortsighted is more what I meant. If Microsoft had foreseen the addition of directories to MS-DOS, they might have kept the slash character reserved for directories and used something else for switches. But because they didn't, they were forced to use the backslash instead. It may not seem like such a big deal now, but back then many international keyboard layouts did not have a backslash, making directories in MS-DOS cumbersome to use.

Edit: BTW, MS-DOS did copy the < > | redirection characters and the . and .. directory entries from Unix. Why wouldn't they copy the / separator from Unix if they could have?

Also, it's not like Unix doesn't have its own share of stupidities: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_UNIX-HATERS_Handbook
Last edited by RebeccaRGB on Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:27 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby psyEDk » Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:17 am UTC

So apparently slashes are srs bzns?
Jeez what the hell, this isn't even funny.
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Re: "Trade Expert" discussion

Postby Jorpho » Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:26 am UTC

I'm thinking "slash" just sounds violent and offensive. "Backslash" isn't much better, I suppose, but it's less open to interpretation.

Mind you, I've never even heard a newscaster make this blunder, so the comic's point is completely lost on me, however worthy of discussion it might be. (Actually, I remember the Royal Canadian Air Face would frack up spectacularly whenever they tried to do a joke involving a URL or E-mail address, but fortunately they didn't try too often.)

By the way, does anyone really call a hyphen or a dash a "stroke" anymore? Outside of Terry Gilliam's Brazil, anyway?

Exüberance wrote:Why would you use the standard escape character as a folder seperator? Wwwwhhhhhyyyy?
I say, why would you make the folder separator an escape character? :P

Frankly I think backslashes look better in folder paths. You can sort of imagine the branches "resting" on what comes before them.

phlip wrote:Of course, backslashes aren't actually allowed in URIs, so you need to use %5C instead, but chances are your browser handles that. And, of course, this is only in the path segment... the two slashes between http: and the domain, and the one between the domain and the path, all need to be forward slashes. And they won't be treated as path separators by the browser, so any relative URIs will ignore them (if you're looking at a/b\c.html and it links to d.png, your browser will load a/d.png, not a/b\d.png). Basically, they act the same as any other symbol, like an underscore or whatever.
It's bloody nonsense, is what it is! No one who knows what they're doing is ever going to purposefully type http:\\ , and even if in some distant era they define some standard where http:\\ would make sense, they'll probably use something else in order to avoid confusion with http://. So why is it that so many freakin' browsers will just tell you you're wrong if you type http:\\ instead of just doing the sensible thing and automatically interpreting it as http:// ?! Why didn't URL Fixer or something similar become standard in web browsers ten years ago!? Wwwwhhhhhyyyy?

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby Areldyb » Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:29 am UTC

Maybe it's just because I haven't watched the news in a while (Google News will conquer CNN!), but I've never noticed this as a problem. Is it that common?

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby faunablues » Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:36 am UTC

The wiki for backslash has already been updated with the xkcd reference. Wow.

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby Akkhima » Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:49 am UTC

I was working at a call center and sat near a guy who kept saying "frontslash" every time he would read out a URL. It drove me absolutely nuts.

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby Sunidesus » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:04 am UTC

A thread in which I can share stupid news stories!

I work on the production side at a local news station. The amount of stupidity when it comes to anything even remotely science/geek is disturbing to say the least.

The one that drives me absolutely insane is upload/download. Last fall after a couple weeks of the sports guy saying "extended highlights will be downloaded to the web" I finally got him to correct himself and he said it correctly the next week. During the show everyone in the control room commented that the sports guy finally got it right. I said that I had "yelled" at him. The producer then asked me why I corrected him because "that's what people call it." Gah! I don't care if a percentage of the population uses the wrong word. That percentage of the population isn't going to know the difference, the rest of the population does know the difference and they think you're an idiot when you use the wrong word.

That same producer also tried to convince me that a fox is a member of the weasel family.

Then there's a different producer who doesn't understand the difference between "blamed on" and "blamed for", he will write scripts that have sentences like "The lightning was blamed on the house fire." I have finally managed to beat it into his head to check with me before he lets that particular phrase go to air.

There's the reporter who asked what NATO was. He also uses the word "fustrated," which makes me want to ask him if he has ever visited a liberry.

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby Steve the Pocket » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:17 am UTC

Sunidesus wrote:The one that drives me absolutely insane is upload/download. Last fall after a couple weeks of the sports guy saying "extended highlights will be downloaded to the web" I finally got him to correct himself and he said it correctly the next week.

Hmm. Never heard that one before. I have heard people use the phrase "I got it off-line" to mean they got something from the Internet, though. There needs to be a term for when people accidentally use the antonym of the word they mean. I vote for "Januse", a portmanteau of "Janus [word]" and "[mis]use".
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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby squareroot » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:30 am UTC

I vote in favor in "Januse".

Oh, wait, this isn't Nomic, sometimes I wish life was - everything can be firmly changed with a single rule. :(

I've never heard a newscaster call it a "slosh", though, which is another term for backslingers.
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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby nico » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:37 am UTC

So why is it that so many freakin' browsers will just tell you you're wrong if you type http:\\ instead of just doing the sensible thing and automatically interpreting it as http:// ?!


Because:
1) we don't really want to spread this disease even more
2) you can actually put a backslash in the name of a file. Changing it automagically to slash would not allow you to access that file anymore

PS: interestingly in Italy (where I'm from) people say "slash" (using the English word, I mean). Of course, because of the low level of English in the population nobody really knows what "slash" means, so I've seen people writing it wrong from time to time. But at least they say it correctly!
And, obviously, few people have a clue about what a backslash is, or that it exists at all :P

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby lordatog » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:42 am UTC

I've gotta admit, the distinction between slashes and backslashes has always seemed completely backwards to me. Naturally, when writing a slash, you start at the top and go down. So... a regular slash starts at the top and goes backwards from there, while a backslash starts at the top and goes forward. So counterintuitive.

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby rflrob » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:44 am UTC

Do you think that Berlee is a shortening of Berners-Lee?
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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby mroconnell » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:57 am UTC

I'm really shocked that nobody has talked about wands and thrones yet...

/ is a wand. You zap wands.

\ is a throne. You sit on these or kick them.

I think that they both get used to show some of the breath attacks.

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby keiranhalcyon31 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:07 am UTC

Every time you say "URI", I die a little. "BCE", too.

lordatog wrote:I've gotta admit, the distinction between slashes and backslashes has always seemed completely backwards to me. Naturally, when writing a slash, you start at the top and go down. So... a regular slash starts at the top and goes backwards from there, while a backslash starts at the top and goes forward. So counterintuitive.

I suppose "natural" is relative. I start at the (top/bottom) left, and go to the (bottom/top) right, as appropriate.

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Re: “Trade Expert” discussion

Postby TheoGB » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:27 am UTC

Akkhima wrote:I was working at a call center and sat near a guy who kept saying "frontslash" every time he would read out a URL. It drove me absolutely nuts.


I've never heard any announcer (actually anyone at all) in this country use 'backslash' in a URL.

However, broadcasters are always saying 'forward slash', which irritates the hell out of me. It's a SLASH, that's what it is: you don't have to clarify it with forward.

(Actually I believe Stephen Fry prefers the term 'stroke'. John Peel used to use it all the time on his Radio 4 show back before he died :cry: )


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