When people talk about computers they use a lot of metaphors and idioms. The graphical user interface as well as the command line are full of such “images”. It starts with simple things as saying “to throw a file away” (into the “wastebasket”) and goes on to processes that have to be “killed” or changes that will be “forgotten”.

Such expressions might serve as bridges to understand what is happening inside a computer. However, an erroneous metaphor taken too far can cause a lot of trouble.

Also, metaphors popularize a conservative view on digital culture. When computers are continuously explained with cars, networks with highways, search engines with the human brain, even Email with classical postal service, the actual properties and possibilities of the computer are lost.

That is why this blog is trying to do it the other way round, to popularize idioms and metaphors that come from the computer to the so called real life. There has to be a healthy balance of cultural exchange from both sides.

Of course this can sometimes lead to weird circles, when metaphors were used to describe a computer related activity and then are transfered back to where they came from, but with another meaning. Well, so what.

Suggestions are happily received at drx@a-blast.org!

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This website has a partner-website called Car Metaphors!

Contemporary Home Computing