Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Word of the Day

Thank you to Sue for today's word, which is glitching. Glitch is a common word, especially used in relation to technology, but I haven't seen it as a verb before - although according to Wikipedia it is derived from a German adjective meaning "slippery", or I guess now "glitchy", which is also pretty widely used. The context is ". . . the list seems to be glitching today." Wikipedia defines it as a bug, or a "short-lived fault in a system."

But it has migrated from computing and electronics to the real world now, and is used in any context. There is even a Glitchipedia. I like the way language is used to bring the vagaries of personality into technology, which is on the whole boring and predictable. In many cases, of course, the glitch is in the user, rather than the software, but the use of the term gently shifts the blame. Last week's transport ticketing glitch in Brisbane, which held up the Go Card, is a nice case study in the use of the term.

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