This is the first in a fun series of what NextPoint IT calls Tech Talks...where we look at the etymology of techie words used by everyone today.
Today's word is...ping. Like, "I'll ping you when my plane lands."
This modern usage comes directly from the IT networking term "ping." A ping in networking is when you send a small message from one computer to another just to make sure they're communicating. It's basically the computer version of, "Can you hear me now?" And it's a way for network engineers to make sure two devices are actually connected or online when trying to troubleshoot a network problem.
But the networking world borrowed the term from submarines where a "ping" was a pulse of sound sent by a submarine's sonar system. Submarines would send out a ping and listen for its echo to figure out how far away another ship or object was. And before that, "ping" just meant the sound of a fast moving, small metal object like a bullet or bell...kind of how "woof" is used for a dog's bark. Like, "The doorbell pinged." And the sound sonar made sounded like a ping.
It's fascinating that a word so frequently used in business today without a second thought used to just be a childlike way to imitate the sound of a bell.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on the oddities of English words in the comments below. Or if you're a small business in Indianapolis, Fishers, Carmel, or Westfield, you can submit a comment for a free technology and computer assessment. NextPoint is always looking for new clients and relationships!
Credit: Tim Ludden