The long and the short of it

I like abbreviations. I think life’s too short, every second counts, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I find lots of pleasure in sesquipedalian words – you know, piecing together the Greek and Latin roots, with prefixes and suffixes and whatnot – but there’s also plenty of fun to be had in acronyms and other shorthand. BRB. OK, I’m back.

So, words like za and rents save precious time. And if you don’t know what a particular word means – well, then the timesaving element is gone but it’s kind of fun to figure out, so either way you win.

I came across this one recently in a Slate blog post about Google bonuses. (Seriously, who doesn’t love eating his heart out over how well those folks get treated?)

Finally, Gizmodo, which helped break the story, notes that this is part of a longtime tech, um, tradition, in which companies hand out their toys to their own employees to beta test them for bugs and get feedback on how to improve the next generation. The toys have been dubbed “dog food” by techies, and Gizmodo has thought up a funĀ  illo for Google’s latest foray into handing out the Alpo. Click here to see it.

I had no idea what an illo was, though the convenient link helped. To make sure, I Googled it, trying to ignore Google’s insistence that “perhaps I meant Ilo?” (No, like Horton the elephant, I meant what I said.) There wasn’t much out there, but I did find this blog, the Illo Watch, “dissecting the daily New York Times Op-ed illustration,” which made the point pretty clear, and also showed that illo goes back to at least 2005.

And the last thing I did was to make sure that Answers.com had an entry on illo. Because now I know.

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