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Mark 85 Silver badge

Re: Just to mudddy the waters a trifle ...

Your first paragraph nudged my curiosity about lb and it's origins:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/52058/why-are-%E2%80%9Cpound%E2%80%9D-and-%E2%80%9Counce%E2%80%9D-abbreviated-%E2%80%9Clb%E2%80%9D-and-%E2%80%9Coz%E2%80%9D

TDog

Re: Just to mudddy the waters a trifle ...

You are a rich bugger - all we ever got was half, third and quarter farthings. All the rest were fantasy money...

http://www.royalmintmuseum.org.uk/coins/british-coinage/old-denominations/fractional-farthings/index.html

John70

what-tag?

Octothorpetag doesnt quite roll off the tongue as easily as hashtag does.

This post has been deleted by its author

Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

Re: Just to mudddy the waters a trifle ...

And thus the reason why in the UK eggs are sold in multiples of 6

Haven't chickens been decimilised by now?

Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
Devil

"nobody abbreviates pound as #"

Rarely. But I still read it that way. Which makes the recent social movement, #MeToo sound a bit strange.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

hashland?

Hashland, thats the Nederlands is it not :)

DougS Silver badge
Pint

@Tim99

Have yourself a beer for one of the most informative posts I've read on the Reg in a while. I never knew why the English had such a goofy system with pennies, shillings and farthings of seemingly arbitrary numbers, nor why buying stuff by the dozen had ever become a thing.

Scroticus Canis Silver badge
Happy

Re: "⸘You shut down the what‽"

FTFY

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

On my UK keyboard, I have a pound symbol (Shift+3=£) , a dollar symbol (Shift+4=$) and a hash key (#)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

'hash'? I've never heard it called that.

'pound', occasionally

'number sign' or 'number', most often and as long as I can remember

'octothorpe', courtesy of the phone company when pushbutton phones came in

... I'm sure there was another I remembered, but not at the moment... AHA - 'sharp' as in C#, the computer language.

Poking around finds a reminder that it is a number sign in #6, and a pound sign in 23#.

And, of course:

# = root prompt

Daniel 18

"I once heard someone refer to an exclamation mark as pling, which confused me somewhat!"

That's a new one.

I've mostly heard it referred to as 'bang' or 'shriek', depending on context / language.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

That usage in the US has gone away decades ago. It was current when typewriters were a thing and was used then, but since computers came around, nobody abbreviates pound as #.

================================================================

On the contrary, it's used all the time, both as an abbreviation for pound, and even more so, as an abbreviation for number, as in #6 shot... which gets swapped for #4 shot if you move to steel.

simonnj

'I once heard someone refer to an exclamation mark as pling'

One of my lecturers must have done the same as when using vi I often think to myself 'colon w q pling' as I type :wq!

It's the only time I use the term.

Stevie Silver badge

Re: the currency was frequently referred to as Lsd. (4 LenG)

Indeed it was, possibly most famously by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band in their seminal "Ali Baba's Camel".

Stevie Silver badge

Re: So you Brits were running your economy off of LSD for years (4 AC)

Yeeeeeees, that's the cleverness of the double entendre.

But thanks for hanging a lantern on it for the slower comment-wrights here.

David Jackson 1

<quote> Pling was common in the 1980s ISTR. I think I first came across it when Acorn-types needed a quicker way to pronounce the indirection operator ("?" was used for bytes, "!" for 16 bits IIRC) and started using "query" for "question mark"." </quote>

Pling was 32bits on the BBC Micro and later on Risc OS. Since integers were 32 bits you could do things like

DIM fred 16

!fred = 100

fred!4 = 200

fred!8 = !fred + fred!4

B% = fred!8

PRINT B%

etc as I recall.

Loud Speaker Bronze badge

Re: Just to mudddy the waters a trifle ...

Maybe we can switch back after Brexit.

Yes, lets. Its no more stupid than anything else to do with Brexit.

Stevie Silver badge

Re: Just to mudddy the waters a trifle ...

I've sometimes heard the hash referred to as a waffle.

And in Univac-speak, the ! is sometimes referred to as a bang (as in: "We ended up having to dollar-bang the 1100-80) and sometimes as a shriek (as in: "To list all lines using the pine editor type pee-shriek").

Though I have heard someone (from TSB) speak of "Pee Bang*", I've never heard anyone say "Dollar-Shriek".

* - A term with resonance in these days of accusations of collusion and secret KGB videos.

Joe Werner

Re: Just to mudddy the waters a trifle ...

The dozen-count actually comes from counting the segments (offsets? ;p ) of the digits with your thumb. Many societies had that. Look at minutes (time and angles) or degrees of a circle.

John Brown (no body) Silver badge

Re: @Tim99

"nor why buying stuff by the dozen had ever become a thing."

That bit is obvious. Everyone knows thing are cheaper by the dozen.

As for the coinage, the US, when it was the colonies and not the US, also used £SD currency. The $ had to be invented. Canada was still using a £SD system until 1858.

bobajob12 Bronze badge

Back in the 1980s I seem to recall BBC Basic instructions referring to ? as "pling" and ! as "bang". Made for some weird looks when I started shell scripting on UNIX.

bobajob12 Bronze badge

Your memory matches mine. The DTMF ABCD tones were used as a way of doing extra control on the call, eg in the US military's old system (autovon) they could indicate the priority of a call.

vtcodger Silver badge

"Why leftpondians call it a pound sign ..."

Because # is sometimes used as an abbreviation for a unit of weight/mass = to 453 grams still in use in the US. ("lb" is a lot more common in practice).

The US hasn't had a currency called the pound for about 240 years. Canadians switched from pounds to dollars well over a century ago.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: "...hashland would sound silly."

Beg to differ, but there is a huge oversupply of the green green grass of toke on Oregon, and a lot of stores and growers are going to be bogarted over the next 24 months or so. Unless you know your weed, and have reasonable economies of scale or are an integrated operation, and a good business acumen, you are going to flame out.

PeterCapek

Actually, not true. At least for a short while, in the earliest days of Touch-Tone phones, octothorpe was the official name for that symbol. An octothorpe is a particular kind of thatched hut which, from the top, looks like a hash. i think the word is defined in the OED, but mine isn't handy.

dfsmith

Re: Just to mudddy the waters a trifle ...

Don't forget the guinea; which was (at least in my head) a pound that included the tip. (Mostly valued at 21 shillings, but somewhat dependent the value of gold.)

Nick Kew Silver badge

Re: Just to mudddy the waters a trifle ...

So you Brits were running your economy off of LSD for years? That explains a bit...

That goes back to the Romans. And we're not the only country to do it in modern times, though some (like Italy and Turkey) saw their £ fall so far as to eliminate any purpose for the S or D subdivisions.

JimboSmith Silver badge

We do call £ "pound" and this weekend I had to tell someone about the pound/shilling/pence system, as he was wondering about the "weird 3 part prices" in his vintage catalog.

There was a clothing shop in a Devon town that had a load of old stock in it. It was one of those shops that was filled with walls of glass fronted drawers from years ago. I had a retiring colleague tell me during the handover week about it and that he knew the owner of it. He said I should visit whilst I was on holiday in the South West. Apparently if you could find any stock in pounds, schillings and pence you could buy it at that price.

Robert Brockway

Octothorpe

We can distinguish between the name of a symbol (arguably octothorpe) and its pronounciation as 'hash' , 'pound' or 'number sign'. This is analagous to the '&' character which is known as an ambersand but pronounced as 'and'.

Fun fact: ambersand used to be counted as the 27th letter of the English language. We've lost other letters over the centuries too but anyone interested should use their favourite search engine to read the fascinating story of the English Alphabet.

onefang
Coat

"On my UK keyboard, I have a pound symbol (Shift+3=£) , a dollar symbol (Shift+4=$) and a hash key (#). What does a US keyboard have? What do US people call a real pound (currency) symbol?"

When they have to produce one, they just pound the keyboard until it produces one, or make a complete hash of it, which then costs them dollars to replace.

I'll get my coat, it's the one with a pound of hash in the pocket that I bought for a dollar.

Wzrd1

"Incidentally, since we call it a hash in the UK, but the Americans call it a pound and the social media companies are US based, why don't they call it a poundtag ?"

Because, far too many of us in the US call social media a "pound sand tag" and treat it accordingly.

Wzrd1

"What do US people call a real pound (currency) symbol?"

Most US citizens are astonishingly ignorant and call it a "funny L symbol". I call it a Pound (currency) symbol and get asked what nation uses that currency.

Seriously!

I think that the ancient Athenians had the right of it, denying the idios the vote.

onefang

"DTMF had (as the name implies) two tones. Each tone had four frequencies for a total number of combinations of 16. 12 (3x4) were used in the telephone keypad and the other four (ABCD?) did "other things" if you could generate them..."

ABCD is correct, you can buy keypads at electronics shops that have all twelve keys. There's likely apps for that.

Wzrd1

"My US keyboard "has" a pound sign, as Shift-3 is #, but Shift-4 is still $, and we don't have a "£" key, so I had to copy-paste it from your post."

There's a unicode for it, which I'm entirely too lazy to look up and alas, I failed to import the lookup script from my other computer as of yet. As it's nearly midnight, that's a tomorrow afternoon job.

"We do call £ "pound" and this weekend I had to tell someone about the pound/shilling/pence system, as he was wondering about the "weird 3 part prices" in his vintage catalog."

Then, the question arises, "What is a quid" and assorted other slang terms, which turns into an hour long question and answer session. Leaving production at Fanny Adams.

Yeah, never thought you'd hear that old expression from across the pond!

onefang

Re: "the default being a hashtag #."

"Someone needs to get control of the octothorpes!"

So that would be Ian Thorpe the well known Aussie swimmer, Billy Thorpe the well known Aussie rock star, and six other people called Thorpe? I suppose that technically our head of state is the Queen of England, so the UK already has control of us Aussies?

Wzrd1

Re: "...hashland would sound silly."

"The interrobang, a cross between a question mark and an exclamation mark."

I remember that in the later 1970's there was an attempt to resurrect the thing. It flew like the proverbial lead balloon.

onefang

Re: #2 Pencil?

"Am I the only one who remembers it being the 'number' sign?"

Not the only one. Perhaps we could just start calling it "The symbol previously known as (insert what you usually call it here)", though then Triple J DJs will start calling it Dave.

Wzrd1

"Why leftpondians call it a pound sign is just an indication of their strangeness."

Well, that bifurcation of language occurred because those on the right side of the pond entirely failed to properly document the shared language until the year after a tax protest spiraled out of control into treason, which out of desperate self-protection, turned into a revolution.

As in 1777, the language was finally documented, but those on the left side of the pond were embargoed and blockaded.

At least until a load of "wine" arrived from France - just in time, as the lefties were losing...

onefang

Re: Just to mudddy the waters a trifle ...

So what you are saying is that the UK should all take LSD after Brexit? I suspect some Remainers think that's how Brexit got voted for in the first place.

onefang

"'sharp' as in C#, the computer language."

That was borrowed from the musical symbol # for a sharp, so C# could refer to a particular musical note.

onefang

"The US hasn't had a currency called the pound for about 240 years."

And USA has been officially metric since the 1860s, but no one told the people. Too hard to learn a new system or some such excuse.

onefang
Headmaster

Re: Octothorpe

"This is analagous to the '&' character which is known as an ambersand but pronounced as 'and'."

I thought that was ampersand? My spell checker agrees with me.

jcitron

You beat me to it.

"Surprised no-one's mentioned "sharp" yet, as in the musical symbol which is almost - but not quite - the same shape."

When I was five years old, I started piano lessons and noticed the similarity in shape.

jcitron

Re: pound

Yeah us Yanks have to fiddle with the Character Map thing in Windows (if one uses Windows) to get the real pound symbol.

ALT-key plus 0163 = £

I got used to doing this when I worked in desktop publishing. My old Varityper was easier to use because had special escape sequences to create ligature characters such as ü ö, etc., as needed. The £ symbol was {command-key} and L at the same time. There was no need to do the cumbersome ALT+code.

Back when I was a tech working on video terminals, there were some that had a compose key which made special characters even easier.

Olivier2553

Re: Also aquare

In Thailand, it is commonly called "square".

jake Silver badge

Re: Just to mudddy the waters a trifle ...

"!" has been pronounced "bang" for centuries, it's a printer's term.

For the computer world, look up "bang path". I was stanford!sail!jake in the late '70s and early '80s. (The bang path is mostly correct, but I've changed the name to protect the guilty as I should be archived at DejaGoo, if the gootards ever fix it :-)

Then there is the "#!" interpreter directive ... Naming it back in the day was a trifle problematic ... "hashbang" was a no-go during the 70s; sounded too much like hashbong & the various neckbearded hippies[1] who were busy (re)inventing UNIX/BSD were paranoid ... octothorpe-bang is clumsy, and pound-bang is just plain weird ... So almost by default, it became "sharp-bang" which was modified to sh-bang (from /bin/sh), and pronounced & later written shebang.

[1]They say that if you remember the SF Bay Area during the 60s & 70s, you didn't live there, but I'm here to tell you that some of us were smart enough to not get into pot ;-)

jake Silver badge

"Most US citizens are astonishingly ignorant and call it a "funny L symbol". I call it a Pound (currency) symbol and get asked what nation uses that currency."

Odd. Here in California, I have never had anybody ask me what £ means.

jake Silver badge

"There's likely apps for that."

Buttsets come to mind. I recommend Fluke.

jake Silver badge

FWIW

My local feed store still uses # for weight. And M for thousands ... So #M2 HogFin is a ton of hog finishing chow.

david 12 Bronze badge

The decision to make $ and £ different ASCII and ISO characters, and hence different keys, was deliberate, so that telegraphic messages didn't automagically read $100 on one side of the atlantic, and £100 on the other. Any currency messages comming accross with £ show up as #, not $.

Also deliberate was the recognition that people could use different characters to represent the $ and £ placeholder, if they weren't using $ or £. So the Americans simply replace the unused pound (LSD) symbol with the local pound (Hash) symbol.

Which is why my TV subtitles routinely indicate singing by bracketing it with £ symbols ...

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