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Squirt Chasing

Monday, November 27th, 2006

In a recent Newsweek column I referred to the Zune’s ability to send songs from one device to another as “squirting.” I’d heard the term before and when Steve Ballmer used the term quite emphatically in an interview, it seemed logical for me to use it, and have some fun with it.

Now it seems that Microsoft might be backing away from the squirt. A posting in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer blog, and now an item in the paper, notes my use of the term, and wonders whether this is official or not. Microsoft tells them no and points to its advertising, which talks about how songs are “beamed” from Zune to Zune. I asked a spokeperson myself, and she replied, “There were a lot of terms tossed around internally but the one we landed on was wireless sharing (or wireless sending).”

How boring. Not that I like “beaming”–it had its heyday in the early PDA days (beaming addresses from Palm to Palm) and anyway, there are all those tired and geeky Star Trek associations to the word. Whereas squirting has a flair to it. OK, there’s an icky factor, too, but it coveys an iconoclasm that apparently Microsoft wants to cultivate. My guess is that’s why Ballmer proudly used the term. So why are the Zune language police trying to suppress it?

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