Feeds

L33tsp34k for the luddite classes

Microsoft helps parents get a grip

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

Microsoft has published a parent's guide to online slang, and we were unable to resist it. It aims to educate confused parents about the wacky online world their kids inhabit, so that mums and dads across America don't freak out when they spy on their offsprings' email, and can't understand a word of it.

The idea behind it is simple: parents are told all the time that to be safe, they should keep their PC in the main family room, they need to monitor their kids' use of the net, particularly chatrooms, or instant messager systems. But kids like their privacy, and will find ways to keep things from their parents.

The guide begins: "While it's important to respect your children's privacy, understanding what your teenager's online slang means and how to decipher it is important as you help guide their online experience."

We can interpret that as meaning that there is little point snooping on your kids unless you know what it is you are snooping on. But while we digress, the advice continues:

"While it has many nicknames," Microsoft continues, "information-age slang is commonly referred to as leetspeek, or leet for short."

It explains that the word leet is itself the vernacular form of "elite", and is a "specific type of computer slang where a user replaces regular letters with other keyboard characters to form words phonetically - creating the digital equivalent of pig Latin with a twist of hieroglyphics."

"Leet words can be expressed in hundreds of ways using different substitutions and combinations, but once one understands that nearly all characters are formed as phonemes and symbols, leetspeek isn't difficult to translate."

Don't you love the way its sounds like an academic analysis of Linear-B?

The page then goes on to demonstrate increasingly complex forms of this mysterious language, giving examples, such as w00t, d00d, and the almost incomprehensible "f0|\|371(" for phonetic.

The intention behind it may be good, and who can blame parents for wanting to make sure their kids are safe online? But the whole thing conjures up images of middle class parents trying to converse with their children in "leetspeak" over breakfast:

"So, I heard Mr. McKenzie really, erm, owned your last math class"

"Whut?"

"The homework he sets really needs some, um, mad skills, to complete it?"

"Mmph?"

"Nevermind dear. Have a leet day."

"Whatever." ®

Microsoft's parental primer is here

Related stories

The American-speaker's guide to Proper English
Most bloggers are teenage girls survey
Reg FoTW star feted in Finnish press

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook's Zuckerberg in EBOLA VIRUS FIGHT: Billionaire battles bug
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted as site supremo coughs up
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
FedEx helps deliver THOUSANDS of spam messages DIRECT to its Blighty customers
Don't worry Wilson, I'll do all the paddling. You just hang on
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
Adorkable overshare of words like photobomb in this year's dictionaries
And hipsters are finally defined as self-loathing. Sort of
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.