Monday, 1 June 2015

An embarrassing surfeit of forward

I celebrate 50 years of computer use this year. In all that time of dealing with computer character sets I and my fellow computer users have been using the word 'slash' for the '/' character, technically a solidus, and a very ancient character from ancient Rome. We can blame Microsoft for widening the use of the backslash character '\' in the 1980s for DOS file paths although backslash itself dates from the 1960s.

For a couple of decades happy computer users in the main used slash and backslash as the common names for the two characters. Then in the late 1990s, as web page addresses that use slashes became popular, TV announcers took it upon themselves to start using the term 'forward slash' for '/' much to my extreme annoyance. I would dearly love to know who in the TV industry perpetrated this calumny that sadly persists to this day showing no sign of lessening.

How many millions nay billions of surplus uses of 'forward' have been forced on TV viewers in the last two decades? Let us all agree to ban 'forward slashes' and drop the 'forward'.