April 2005 Archives

My colleague, Youngjin Yoo, has created a site with a number of videos clips that demonstrate design and rapid prototyping of organizations.  This way of designing is very useful as you think about changing organizations, especially when introducting new technologies.

I clipped out some of this article, which I am studying avidly because I want to understand my kids:

While it's important to respect your children's privacy, understanding what your teenager's online slang means and how to decipher could be important in certain situations and as you help guide their online experience. While it has many nicknames, information-age slang is commonly referred to as leetspeek, or leet for short. Leet (a vernacular form of "elite") is a specific type of computer slang where a user replaces regular letters with other keyboard characters to form words phonetically��creating the digital equivalent of Pig Latin with a twist of hieroglyphics.

Leet words can be expressed in hundreds of ways using different substitutions and combinations, but once one understands that nearly all characters are formed as phonemes and symbols, leetspeek isn't difficult to translate. Also, because leet is not a formal or regional dialect, any given word can be interpreted differently, so it's important to use discretion when evaluating terms. The following serves as a brief (and by no means definitive) introduction to leet through examples.

Key points for interpreting leetspeek

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Numbers are often used as letters. The term "leet" could be written as "1337," with "1" replacing the letter L, "3" posing as a backwards letter E, and "7" resembling the letter T. Others include "8" replacing the letter B, "9" used as a G, "0" (zero) in lieu of O, and so on.

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Non-alphabet characters can be used to replace the letters they resemble. For example, "5" or even "$" can replace the letter S. Applying this style, the word "leetspeek" can be written as "133t5p33k" or even "!337$p34k," with "4" replacing the letter A.

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Letters can be substituted for other letters that may sound alike. Using "Z" for a final letter S, and "X" for words ending in the letters C or K is common. For example, leetspeekers might refer to their computer "5x1llz" (skills).

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Rules of grammar are rarely obeyed. Some leetspeekers will capitalize every letter except for vowels (LiKe THiS) and otherwise reject conventional English style and grammar, or drop vowels from words (such as converting very to "vry").

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Mistakes are often left uncorrected. Common typing misspellings (typos) such as "teh" instead of the are left uncorrected or sometimes adopted to replace the correct spelling.

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Non-alphanumeric characters may be combined to form letters. For example, using slashes to create "/\/\" can substitute for the letter M, and two pipes combined with a hyphen to form "|-|" is often used in place of the letter H. Thus, the word ham could be written as "|-|4/\/\."

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