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Word Up

July 10, 2008 - 6 Comments

Just this last week, Merriam-Webster released their updated dictionary for 2008. As you may imagine, the 100 or so new words added each year reflect our current interests, new technologies, or topics in the news. In looking over the list, four came to my attention as they relate to the potential, and the opportunity for misuse, of the Internet. They are, including dates of first appearance: netroots (2003), malware (1990), webinar (1998), and pretexting (1992).So we’re all speaking the 2008 version of the English language, their meanings are: – Netroots: Political activism through blogs and other on-line media such as wikis, You Tube, and Second Life. – Malware: Software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system without the owner’s informed consent. – Webinar: Describes a specific kind of web conference, mostly from the speaker to the audience with some collaboration such as Q&A. – Pretexting: Creating and using an invented scenario, the pretext, to persuade a targeted victim to release information or perform an action.In the above, two words describe all that is good: collaboration, knowledge, and participation. This is a world where you want to open up, and share. And then, the other two, describe all that is bad: criminal intent, attack, and fear. This is a world where you hunker down, lock the door, and don’t let out a peep. Talk about the Yin and Yang of the world we live in! We’re doing our best, through extending broadband access, IPTV, and WebEx, to enable the good — while our security products protect you from the bad. And maybe some day our Unified Communications solutions will even warn you that you are about to be pretexted. However, not the kind from Minority Report, no thank you. It’s hot outside. I think I’ll go back to my prosecco.

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  2. I think collaboration is the most important.

  3. Paticipation will make our world better.

  4. Dictionaries are part and parcel of my life, ’cause I learn two foreign languages. Search is not a problem to me, to choose the necessary dictionary can sometimes be more important – there’s a nice collection of dictionaries at, they are very helpful to me.

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