Could you please explain something called “leetspeak”? My computer repair person was telling me about it, but it didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Thanks, Mr. M.
Leetspeak, or leet for short, is a type of online jargon in which a computer user replaces letters with other keyboard characters to form words phonetically. Though it was originally used by hackers and gamers (“leet” derives from the word “elite”), it has slithered into the Internet quasi mainstream.
Nearly all leet characters are formed as symbols, while some are based on what each number matches on a cellphone keypad. With a bit of practice, leet isn’t too difficult to translate. Here are a few key points for interpreting leetspeek:
Numbers and symbols replace letters they resemble. For example, the term “leetspeak” can be written “!337$p34k.” The character “!” replaces the letter L, “3” is used as a backward letter E, and “7” is the letter T. Other examples of character/letter replacement include using “8” for the letter B, “9” for G, and the numeral 0 for the letter O. (Kill me now, I’m begging you.)
Letters can be substituted for other letters that might sound alike. For example, the letter Z can replace the final letter S in the word “skillz.” The letter X replaces the letter K, so “skills” becomes “sxillz.” Using numbers and symbols, leetspeakers might refer to their computer skills as “5x1llz.”
It will come as no surprise that traditional rules of standard English style are rarely followed and mistakes are often left uncorrected. Common typing errors such as “teh” instead of “the” are sometimes deliberately adopted to replace the correct spelling. (When did it become fashionable to appear functionally illiterate? I must have missed the memo.)
The “culture” of leetspeak encourages its moronic disciples to emulate each other’s individual creativity, so if you are interested, be prepared to play “Follow the Leeter.”
How can I tell what file or program a Desktop shortcut connects to without actually clicking it to open the document or program? Is that even possible?
Yes, indeed. If you are curious, right-click a Desktop shortcut and select Properties. The Target field displays the path to the underlying program’s .EXE or executable file represented by the shortcut. The Start in: field, if not blank, will display the folder that contains the original item or files the program needs in order to function.
Mr. Modem publishes “Ask Mr. Modem!” each week, featuring PC tips, tricks and plain-English answers to your questions by email. For more information, visit www.MrModem.com.
Mr. Modem’s sites of the week
More than just the usual stalagmite and stalactite “which-one-points-up?” information, the site’s navigation bar at the top of the page allows the curious to check out Cave Microbiology, How Caves are Formed and Cave Preservation. There is even a handy-dandy Teacher’s Guide should you wish to rappel into the lucrative cave-teaching sector.
DropShots Photo Sharing
When one thinks of a site to store and share photos online, Flickr.com, Shutterfly.com and Photobucket.com often come to mind. DropShots is an excellent alternative worthy of consideration that makes it easy to upload, organize and share your photos. There are two types of accounts, a free one and a paid one that costs either $49.95 per year or $99.95 for a lifetime. (I’m never sure if they mean my lifetime or theirs, and if they are referring to my lifetime, do they know something that I don’t know? Is it a tumor? What? Tell me — no, don’t tell me. Yes, tell me.) For most folks, a free account is adequate and stores up to 500 photos, though there will be an occasional advertisement. Check it out!
If you want a YouTube video to start playing at a precise point in the video, this site will allow you to type in the time, then create a URL for that designated starting point.