Giving up is a liberating feeling, in some ways (though in most ways it’s just depressing, yet another failure grinding your soul to dust). So, I’m slightly pleased to note that from now on, when I see someone say that something is depreciated when they mean that it’s deprecated, rather than grinding my teeth while suggesting that they learn the difference (before I beat them senseless), I’ll just go get another fifth of cheap whiskey and a bag of pork rinds, er, let it pass.
This aborted rant started when I was editing a Movable Type Comment Listing Template, and noticed on the way in that it was described as
Shown when comment popups (depreciated) are enabled. I was reasonably sure that comment popups do not lose a percentage of their value for each unit of time which elapses, and although there are those who belittle comment popups, I suspected that Six Apart actually wanted to tell us that their use has been deprecated, that is, disapproved of, and the technical meaning, that they are no longer recommended for use with a threat that at some future time support will be completely removed.
I thought it might be nice to leaven my bile with a little etymology, so I asked the folks at Answers.com about it. I found their answer only somewhat satisfying (the derivation from “to ward off by prayer” is rather nice, but some of their definitions were a touch fuzzy for my taste), but then I made the horrid mistake of asking them about depreciated, where I’m offered only one answer: an incorrect (and long since changed at the source) Wikipedia article claiming that depreciated is
a W3C term, and linking to the letter D in the W3C glossary (one assumes due to incompetence, rather than having considered the alternative, linking to the anchor #deprecated, and … oh, bloody hell, I can’t stand it! How can so many people who are involved with computer software, where individual characters and even bits matter, be so utterly blind to the fact that they are throwing an extra vowel into a word, turning it into another word? That’s it, I’m loading the back of the pickup with cluebats and heading to San Francisco. I’d recommend having
[mt-cvs]$ grep -r "depreciated" ./ [mt-cvs]$
up on your monitors, when I get there to meat you.
Ah, that felt much better than giving up ;)