Interesting vocab mixup with the 7YO last night: He agreed to stop a game at “the first save point” and get ready for bed. When he didn’t, he said he hadn’t gotten to a “safe point” yet.

It turned out he didn’t understand what a save point was, because all the games he’s played up until now either don’t save progress at all, or save continuously.

It shouldn’t make any difference that Twitter renamed Favorites★ as Likes♥. It’s a coat of paint. But labels do matter. Just like “friend” and “follower”, “like” and “favorite” (and hearts and stars) conjure up different expectations.

Twitter says, “You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favorite.” Paradoxically, I find “likes” to be more specific. The star-and-favorite model comes out of Internet Explorer*, and modern browsers still use stars for bookmarks. This made “favorite” seem a little more versatile, anything from a stamp of approval to a simple check-back-for-later.

“Like,” on the other hand….

After years of requests for a “dislike” button, Facebook finally admitted that “like” isn’t sufficient to respond to everything, and will be expanding to multiple reaction buttons. I know Twitter keeps trying to be more like Facebook, but c’mon — even Facebook knows people don’t want to “like” sad news.

*Microsoft didn’t want to call their bookmarks “bookmarks.” Nobody wanted to use the same terminology as anyone else back then. They tried to call links “shortcuts” too.

When my son was younger, I longed for the day when he’d be able to talk, just so it wouldn’t be a guessing game every time he wanted something. Now that he can tell us whether he’s hungry, thirsty, wants to play ball or take a bath, wants something specific to eat, etc., it’s a lot easier to respond (even if it’s to tell him that no, he can’t have any pie because he refused to eat dinner).

Most of the time.

There are still a lot of things he understands but can’t say, so he tries to get the idea across some other way. Instead of 20 questions, it becomes a riddle game.

As an example: Last night he kept saying “pee.” This variously means “piece” (either as an observation or a request), “please” (though he usually signs that still), or, well, pee. After ruling out the obvious, we couldn’t figure out what he was trying to ask for or comment on until I realized he was always saying it while pointing at, looking at, or touching my desk, where I had set a roll of tape that I’d let him play with pieces of the other day…and made the connection with the other random comment he’d been pulling out every few minutes: pointing to a half-healed scrape on his foot from last week and saying “Ow.”

He wanted a new band-aid for the scrape: A piece of something like the tape on my desk for the owie on his foot.

Randy Cassingham of This Is True has been driving a weekly Twitter event he calls Pet Peeve Wednesday, with the hashtag #PPW*. Some items I’ve posted about things that Just Bug Me(tm). I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that they fall into two categories, tech and language.

Tech Annoyances

  • Mobile websites that change the URL so you can’t reshare the page on Twitter without sending desktop users to the mobile site. Or worse: the ones that redirect you from a full article to the front of their mobile site, so you have to hunt around for the article that someone was trying to share with you.
  • New password forms should always spell out the password policy before the user tries to pick something it doesn’t like.
  • If you have to cite a bogus law to claim that your email is not spam (or worse, that recipients can’t callit spam), it’s spam.

Language Annoyances

  • “Weary” means you’re tired of something, not concerned about it. You’re thinking of “wary” or maybe “leery.”
  • If you’re going to reference “Wherefore art thou Romeo?”, remember: she’s asking why, not where. (Think of it this way: The answer to “wherefore?” is “therefore,” and you know what “therefore” means.) It’s a lead-in to the “What’s in a name?” speech.
  • What do people think an “intensive purpose” is, anyway? The real phrase, “for all intents and purposes,” at least makes sense.
  • The word is “foolproof,” as in even a fool can’t mess it up, not “full proof.” (As opposed to what, half-proof?)

*There’s a hashtag collision with both “Pet Peeve Wednesday” and “Prove People Wrong” using the same tag.