Say It Short

Remember when the movie 2010: Odyssey Two came out? There was a simple, easy way to say it: We all called it “Twenty-Ten”. And for a few decades, folks like Terence McKenna have been warning about what might happen in the year 2012, and we all thought of it as “twenty-twelve”. These things are short, quick, and easy to say.

And then we hit the Aughts, and for nine long years, we had to start all our year-names with “two thousand…”. By 2006, we were pretty well habituated to it, and I started hearing people project that format onto later years: “two thousand fifty-five” and whatnot.

But starting at the beginning of last year, none of this was necessary any more. We can drop the laborious excess of “two thousand” in favor of just “twenty”. Really, nobody will have any trouble understanding you when you say this is “twenty-eleven”.

(I know, this is not exactly a pressing issue. But it bugs me. Like many geeks, seeing excess effort expended is a pet peeve, even when I’m not the one expending it.)

While we’re at it, there are a couple of TLAs in the tech world that really can and should be said as acronyms, without having to be spelled out every time.

FAQ is “fack”. It rhymes with Iraq. If someone asks you lots of them in a rapid-fire manner, it’s a FAQ attack. If you’re into goth fashion, you may like the Dye It Black FAQ — doesn’t work so well if you spell out the last word, does it?

And why does anyone pronounce APIs as “ay pee eyes” when they could just say “appies”? Honestly, I always thought it was pronounced “appies”, until a co-worker got confused by it. I was surprised to hear that most techies actually take the excess time to spell out “ay pee eye” — nobody ever bothers to spell out “en ay ess ay” or “ay jay ay ecks”, why should the just-as-pronounceable API be any different?

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