GIFs In The News Again

Steve Wilhite, inventor of GIF, at the 2013 Webbies. Picture stolen from the BBC. Sorry.

So how about those Animated GIFs?

Yeah, they are just as annoying now as they were in the 90s. I’m surprised that web browsers still bother to support it. (It would have been better for mankind if they didn’t.)

Speaking of GIFs, the debate over how to pronounce it is back in the tech news again. There was a rather long discussion of it on The 404 recently, and it was mentioned at The Webbies. Personally, I’ve never understood why it isn’t obvious to anyone with a small amount of English literacy.

Besides the well-documented evidence that the author of the format pronounced it JIF, the reason I picked JIF is easy: According to the laws of English¬†pronunciation¬† a “G” followed by an “i” makes a soft G sound. In fact, G followed by “i”, “e”, or “y” is always pronounced like a “J.” Just like Giraffe is pronounced “Jiraffe” and Gerbil is pronounced “Jerbil.” Giraffe, Gerbil, Gelatin, German, Gyrate, Gif.

So all you people with your memes that say “It’s Gif, not Jif.” To a literate person, it reads, “It’s Jif, not Jif.”

(The words Gift and Girl are _exceptions_. Their etymology is German, as opposed to the others which are French.)

(Incidentally, as I’m writing this, I am realizing for the very first time that people may have read GIF like a short version of GIFT. Shockingly, I have never before made the connection between those two words. If that’s the case, it kind of makes sense that people would, you know, get it wrong.)

If it was supposed to be pronounced as a hard G sound, they should have abbreviated it GRIF.

I know what you’re saying. It’s not a word, it’s an acronym! So English rules don’t apply. And G stands for Graphics which is a hard G sound.

Well, explain this, then, smarty pants. Look at the acronym ASAP. As Soon As Possible. If GIF is supposed to be pronounced like the words it stands for, then ASAP should be pronounced ASS-APP. But it’s not. It’s pronounced AY-SAP. (Please God let there be a consensus on that pronunciation.) So there.

All that being said, if I’m in a group and unsure how it will be pronounced, I default to silence or using a hard G because that’s the “hip” way that the youngsters say it. I only say JIF if I hear someone else say it like that, or if I’m the only computer literate person in the room.

Stealth Poison Ivy

poison-ivyI’m on the downhill side of the worst case of poison ivy I’ve had since my teens. I’m not allergic, so it’s nowhere near as bad as it could be, but it’s unusually bad for me. And I got it without even going outside. It was stealth poison ivy.

I assume it got me one rainy day when my dog Bella came in from the back yard after brushing up against some poison ivy. Usually when she’s wet I towel her off so she doesn’t get the whole house dirty, so presumeably my arms rubbed up against the urushiol oil that was on her fur, unbenownst to me. Then I went back to my computer and most likely got the oil all over my desk while I typed and moved the mouse around like I always do.

Next thing I know, I’ve got rashes on my wrists and arms, itching like crazy. I figured I must have gotten it from Bella, but it kept getting worse until it finally dawned on me to clean my desk, too.

So let that be a lesson to you. Make sure to clean *everything* that was exposed to poison ivy. And do it early.

Also, get rid of any poison ivy growing in your back yard.

By the way… I discovered by accident that running hot water (hot enough to flinch from, but not scalding hot) on poison ivy is a pretty awesome trick for stopping the itching for a little while. I had never heard of this before, but apparently it “overloads” your nerve endings so they don’t transmit the itchy signal for a couple hours. It’s really weird. It feels great for a few seconds and then the area goes kind of numb. I’m finding mixed results about whether it’s advisable or not, though. One bad thing is that it opens up your pores so the urishiol oil could get even farther into your skin, so it seems like you wouldn’t want to do it until the later stages of the rash. But on the other hand, I followed it up with hydrocortisone cream, so if it opens up your pores, wouldn’t that mean the cream gets in there better? Anyway surely it’s got to be better than scratching.

Jetpack Post-by-Email

Cool, I just setup the post-by-email feature of the Jetpack for WordPress plugin. Previously I’ve tried a few other ways to do this but they never worked right. But this Jetpack thing seems to be a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing. (I’m probably the last WordPress user to realize this.)