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Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

The grammar police leave a ticket

Grammar, Snarky

An unusually careful reader of my previous blog entry wrote, "Shouldn't that be BlackBerrys, not BlackBerries?"

Like so many of us during times of major turmoil, his eye is on what really matters: spelling. Or better, the proper use of trademarks, which I neglected to use because I didn't know how to make the little "R" in a circle mark in this program -- until it occurred to me to cut and paste it in. Like this: ®

It turns out that he's half right, which is probably good enough most of the time but maybe not if you are running a huge investment bank. That's just a hunch, so there's a 50% chance that I'm right.

You may not have known that this question of usage (it's not grammar but standards, the difference between which I'll be glad to explain if you really want to know) is the subject of hot, ongoing debate. But a Google search on "What's the plural of BlackBerry?" churns up a quarter of a million hits.

Here's the scoop. The computer geek community prefers BlackBerrys®. But RIM (Research in Motion Limited, the company that owns the product registration), forbids any use of plural forms. It also forbids the use of BlackBerry® as a noun.  There's much more, including:

  1. Use of variations, abbreviations or takeoffs
    You are not permitted to use the BlackBerry® or other RIM Trademarks as meta tags for your webpages.It is not permissible to use a variation, abbreviation or takeoff of a RIM Trademark. For example, “BlackBe
    rries”, “BB” and “Crackberry” are not acceptable uses with reference to any products or services of RIM.
You can read the entire list here.

So you can call it BlackBerry® smartphone or BlackBerry® Enterprise System, which sounds like Star Trek meets Green Acres to me. Or you can do what I do: take a busman's holiday and ignore the rules until you get called on it.

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