If you need to alter a photo, there’s a good chance you’ll photoshop it. But even though people have been photoshopping images for 30 years as of today, it wasn’t until the last decade that it became widely accepted that you can use “photoshop” as a verb. Before then, you were more likely to “edit an image with Photoshop” than you were to “photoshop an image.”
The rise of photoshop — the verb — tracks with our cultural concerns around image manipulation. While the term was adopted among internet commenters just years after the software’s release on February 19th, 1990, it didn’t become widespread until stories about edited propaganda and touched-up celebrities began to regularly fill our news feeds almost two decades later.THERE WERE PLENTY OF CHEAPER EDITING APPS — PHOTOSHOP DIDN’T HAVE TO BECOME THE GO-TO WORD
It wasn’t inevitable that photoshop would become the go-to term for image manipulation. Photographers had been manipulating photos for more than a century before Photoshop was created, and it wasn’t the only piece of image editing software around in the early days of computers. On top of that, Photoshop was largely inaccessible professional software: hard to use and really expensive. It originally sold for $895, and it never got much cheaper.
It was very much in spite of these hurdles that photoshop became the known term for image editing. In part, that’s because it quickly became the industry standard for designers. But it also quickly became picked up as the tool used for goofier creations and online jokes, too, leading to many of its first informal uses.
Blogs and tech publications were among the first to start referring to Photoshop more colloquially. Wired wrote that someone had “Photoshopped set designs” in an article from October 1999. Something Awful appears to have first used “Photoshopping” in November 2001 while writing about covering its founder’s face with digital pimples. Over the next few years, Boing Boing mentioned “Photoshopping” twisted versions of children’s books, and Engadget referenced having “Photoshopped” an image to display on the PlayStation Portable.PIRACY SPIKED, AND SO DID CONCERNS AROUND PHOTOSHOPPED IMAGES
Early uses of the term among mainstream publications were a bit more awkward. In 2006, The New York Times wrote about a model whose body was “apparently Adobe Photoshopped,” while The Wall Street Journal used the term metaphorically (“he has Photoshopped it in his mind”) to refer to a person who had reconsidered his view of a photo.
It was also around this time that Photoshop became much more widely accessible — though not by Adobe’s choice. Peer-to-peer piracy services like Napster had been around since the turn of the century, but it was in the mid-2000s that software piracy became far more widespread. Adoption of broadband internet spiked early in the decade, and, combined with BitTorrent, it became much easier to download and distribute pirated copies of large apps and games. While details on the widespread piracy of Photoshop are largely anecdotal, a 2009 report from a group of software makers, including Adobe, estimated that more than 40 percent of PC software was pirated.
Use of the term really began to grow as concerns around photoshopped images became mainstream. In 2007, Gawker started writing about celebrity images that had been photoshopped, such as a supposed lewd image of Paris Hilton. In 2008, TMZ reported on a L’Oréal image featuring a “severely Photoshopped Beyonce.” That same year, The New York Times wrote about how Iran’s state media appeared to have photoshopped an image of a missile test to add a fourth missile when only three had been launched, and The Telegraph covered a controversy around whether a Dove ad campaign meant to feature “real beauty” rather than retouched models had, in fact, been retouched.“THE VERB IS JUST TOO EFFICIENT A WAY TO REFER TO THE ACTION.”
The big turn came during those years when large publications started using photoshop unadorned — as in, “I’m going to photoshop this image.” TMZ called on readers to “Photoshop some scandalous threesome photos” of a few celebrities in March 2007. The term appeared in The New York Times a month later and on Gawker a year after that.
Seeing usage rise in those years, Merriam-Webster decided to add “photoshop” to its dictionary in 2008. “As it gained increased use, it was just clear that it was not going anywhere,” Emily Brewster, a Merriam-Webster senior editor, told The Verge. “The verb is just too efficient a way to refer to the action.”
Brewster says that kind of linguistic efficiency — e.g., “I photoshopped it” versus “I altered the image using digital software” — is often the reason a noun will morph into a verb. “Especially when a noun refers to a process or a way of doing something, it really lends itself to the transformation into a verb,” Brewster said.
These examples from news websites were not the altogether earliest uses of photoshop as a verb. Merriam-Webster’s earliest cataloged use of photoshop is from a Usenet newsgroup in 1992. And if you look through old forums and the archives of news websites, you’ll find instances of photoshop, photoshopped, and photoshopping peppering the comments sections far earlier than you’ll find them in actual articles.AS KENDRICK SAYS ON HIS PULITZER-WINNING ALBUM, “I’M SO FUCKIN’ SICK AND TIRED OF THE PHOTOSHOP.”
Part of the reason is that traditional publications are typically hesitant to use colloquial language until it’s generally understood among readers. That generally means that, once a word like photoshop is printed by a major publication, it’s attained some degree of widespread usage — enough that editors believe it’ll be clear to most readers.
This is also the kind of formally approved usage that Merriam-Webster looks for when determining whether to add a new word. “That tells us it’s reached this level of usage that means native speakers are likely to come across the word in print, and the word is likely to stick around,” Brewster said. And that means if readers don’t know its meaning, it’ll be in the dictionary for them to look up.
In a lovely coincidence, The Verge’s copy desk made a number of updates to our site’s style guide yesterday. Among them was the guidance that we may now “lowercase proper nouns as verbs,” which means that, after nine years on the internet, writers at The Verge can finally tell you to go google something or to photoshop an image.
“I think that the users of a language — the people — should be guiding standards, not brands or companies,” Kara Verlaney, The Verge’s senior copy editor, told me. Continuing to capitalize photoshop “just stopped making sense” when these words are already used so colloquially, she said. “I didn’t decide to [change it]. It was already happening.”ADOBE ISN’T THRILLED ABOUT ANY OF THIS
In recent years, the word photoshop has also had its meaning divorced from the application itself, become shorthand for lying in general. On “Humble,” Kendrick Lamar raps “I’m so fuckin’ sick and tired of the Photoshop” and pleads to see something natural. Jay-Z discusses perceptions of his marriage on a song from Everything is Love with the line “No photoshop, just real life.” The photo editing isn’t the point; it’s about the overall manipulation of reality.
As this sort of transformation happens, the companies behind these proper nouns are usually resistant to them becoming used colloquially and generically like this. If a word becomes too much of a generic term, companies risk losing their trademark — as happened for Escalator, which was originally a name brand of escalators. (The term became so generic, it even morphed into the word “escalate,” according to Merriam-Webster.)
Photoshop is a trademarked term, too, and Adobe has been hesitant to embrace the word’s success over concerns about losing the rights to it. Today, the company seems to avoid telling people not to use it, even if it won’t endorse the verb itself. In an email to The Verge, Adobe said, “We’re very proud of the Photoshop brand, its place in culture, and the role it continues to play in fostering Creativity for All.”
But in the past, Adobe has been more direct about telling people not to use the app’s name as a verb. As early as 2004, the company issued a memo that people should instead say, “The image was modified using Adobe® Photoshop® software.”
Unfortunately, that’s just not as catchy as saying a picture was ‘shopped.
What is Next for Digital Transformation in Financial Services?
The following is a guest post by Natalie Myshkina, Strategic Business Development, FSI at Adobe.
Like many industries and businesses right now, financial organizations in banking are finalizing and implementing business continuity/contingency plans as well as enabling all employees to work from home. At the same time, they are diligently working to meet changing client needs and building new ways to serve clients. Beyond the operational actions underway, banks and capital markets need to start developing medium- and longer-term plans to address each element of financial, risk, and regulatory compliance, and create new environments to support the business in fully digital settings.
In late 2019, an Arizent survey commissioned by the Credit Union Journal and American Banker reported that only 30 percent of organizations have a digital first, enterprise-wide strategy and readiness. Other organizations are still in the middle or beginning of the digital transformation of their businesses.
While most organizations have business continuity plans, they have been heavily tested over the last few weeks. I’d like to highlight a few operational steps that are essential to consider now for banks:
- Transparency and trust
Continue to adjust a communication plan to quickly liaise with employees, customers, business partners, regulators, investors, and vendors. Keeping close communications with customers and other stakeholders creates the opportunity to strengthen the relationship.
- Operating model
Implement a dynamic, scalable, and flexible operating model to ensure business continuity in any scenario. For example, in the case of temporary closures, branches need to quickly train branch employees to provide online help or assist the call center in serving clients.
- Remote services and capabilities
Many enterprise organizations have an extensive set of workflow tools, document management tools, document collaboration, and electronic signature solutions in place, but they are not fully utilized. For example, one department in the organization may fully embrace digital documents and electronic signatures, while another department keeps receiving and sending snail mail. The solution here would be to review best practices and tools across the organization, understand the full capabilities of available solutions, and offer them to unit managers to utilize as immediate solutions.
- Digital project prioritization
Conduct project prioritization exercises, and speed up projects related to offering digital products and services (client onboarding, product enrollment, etc.) or operational inefficiencies. If possible, speed up time-to-market or release solutions with limited/partial functionality or limited integration points.
- Organizational culture
Communicating and fostering the culture that maintains employee morale is becoming extremely important, and it can be done in different forms: through top-down communication and leaders acting as role models, by encouraging grassroots initiatives, by providing platforms for team collaboration, creating virtual watercoolers, etc.
- Peer communications
Be in close contact with industry groups for information to get best practices and requests to obtain waivers from regulators if required.
The coronavirus pandemic is already leading to major changes in how customers manage their finances and how financial organizations support their customers. Next we would be seeing activities related to meeting changing client needs due to financial stress, supporting client activities in digital channels, rapid digitalization in commercial and corporate banking, and more.
Here are a few notable areas financial organizations should address:
- Proactively address new customer needs
To operate in the new environment, banks would need to rapidly meet different client needs and serve them in ways outside the norm. Scalable solutions to process and approve requests for forbearance, mortgage holidays, deferred loan repayments, etc. would need to be implemented quickly as well as quickly scale up the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) via the SBA program.
- Branchless banking and self-service options in digital channel
Due to the temporary closing of branches and reduced ATM availability and usage, the branchless banking or virtual branches idea is becoming more popular. As many interactions move online, expect to see more and more consumers want to use self-service tools on the web and in their mobile devices.
- Rapid digitalization and digital service accessibility across all customer lifecycles stages
For many organizations, their digital transformations began with onboarding new clients. But often we see that many other client touchpoints in the customer lifecycle are not fully digitized, and some require manual/paper steps. In the new environment, most of the client-initiated activities would be done on digital platforms. Automation is essential to provide clients with fast service and a consistent experience while keeping cost-effective operating model in place.
- Expending successful digitalization of customer touchpoints beyond retail banking
Over the last few years, we have seen substantial efforts and budgets spent on elevating customer experiences and moving clients to digital platforms. This has been done for many reasons, one of them was a demand from a digitally native consumer to have a better experience and the competition coming from neobanks (aka digital-only banks).
Commercial and corporate banks were behind this trend partially because the lack of these drivers and the complexity of the processes. In the new reality, we would be seeing a lot of rapid digitalization of customer-facing and internal activities in commercial/corporate banking and capital markets.
- Data use, extraction and manipulation
Going forward, the ability to extract and process data from multiple documents will be essential to manage risks and to create cost-conscious processes. Immediately, we could see requests for solutions to process documents to feed systems assessing portfolio health in stressed markets, or complete search thought legal documents.
- Adaption of cloud solutions
As financial services organizations have been behind the curve in the cloud solution adaption, this situation will trigger a revisit of internal policies and expedite further cloud adoption for both client-facing and internal solutions to improve efficiencies, eliminating the need for a larger security and maintenance staff, and creating cost-effective, scalable environments.
During these trying times, banks can best serve their clients by delivering products and services for business continuity today while working on business resilience for the future. Industry experts predict that the current situation will accelerate the digital transformation in the industry over the a short period of time. That time starts now.
Photo by Twixes on Unsplash
Apple Silicon Chips to Bring Mac Computers Into iPhone Ecosystem
Apple said Monday it would build its own chips to power its Mac computers to create a “common architecture” that allows the devices to run the same apps as those on the iPhone and iPad.
The news came at the annual Apple developer conference — a virtual event due to the coronavirus pandemic — where the tech giant announced a series of product updates including details of its upcoming iOS 14 software powering its popular handsets.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook said the move represents “a huge leap forward for the Mac,” which would get a more powerful and energy-efficient system that operates more like Apple’s mobile devices.
Cook said the first of the new Mac computers will be shipping by the end of the year and that the change would help lead to “a common architecture for all of our products.”
This means developers can more easily create services which can run across the range of Apple products and devices, the company said.
“Apple has made an important point that by designing their own silicon it has helped them keep pushing performance in ways merchant silicon vendors can’t,” said Ben Bajarin, analyst at Creative Strategies.
New look on iPhone
Apple also offered a first look at its iOS 14 for the iPhone which gives a new look to its home screen and allows users to more easily manage their apps.
The new operating system will organise apps into a cleaner “app library” with the most frequently used ones prominently featured.
The update “transforms the most iconic elements of the iPhone experience, starting with the biggest update we’ve ever made to the home screen,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering.
Apple said the software would include a “digital car key” allowing the iPhone or Apple Watch to unlock and start a car. The virtual key for compatible car models can be shared using messages, or disabled if a device is lost.
Apple said iOS 14 would also include a translate feature for 11 languages powered by its Siri digital assistant and allow for “app clips” or fragments of apps that can be quickly downloaded and used for transactions at partner merchants and services.
Updated software for the Apple Watch, known as watchOS7, will include a series of health and fitness features including improved sleep tracking and automatic handwashing detection to help users clean their hands for the 20 seconds recommended by health officials to help prevent virus spreading.
Apple announced its upcoming Mac operating system will be known as “Big Sur” with more immersive features and improved privacy.
The updated iPadOS14 will add new features for the Apple Pencil which can be used on the tablets.
How to raise women’s interest in tech; a long-term approach
When talking about African women in tech who inspire young female tech enthusiasts, Funke Opeke’s name definitely gets mentioned.
Funke Opeke, CEO of MainOne, a communications services company, has been active in the space for more than a decade, assiduously solving West Africa’s connectivity problem.
But if there are to be more Opekes, the list of women in tech needs to grow, quickly. Unfortunately, this isn’t happening yet.
Case in point, in 2018, Techpoint Africa, in partnership with a digital artist, Nihinlola AyoOluwa, published a compilation of individuals who revolutionised Nigeria’s tech industry. Of the ten that were profiled, only two were women. And this is not surprising.Advertisement
It can be inferred from this result that at the time, women had only 20% active representation in tech, and there are other reports lending credence to this.
According to the McKinsey’s Women Matter Africa report (PDF), in 2016, only 5% of tech company CEOs were women, while 29% of senior managers were women. The report also revealed that only 36% of promotions in organisations go to women in Africa.
Although a TechCabal report on Nigerian Women in Tech showed that the percentage of women participants in tech is increasing by the year, the current number is a far cry from what is possible.
In an alternate world, more women should be CEOs of giant tech firms and they should get credit for their exploits, but this isn’t the reality. Perhaps, there is a logical explanation for this.
Despite the uncertainties, all hope is not lost since the past decade has seen more women performing exceptionally in the industry.
However, controversies around gender inequality in the workplace and how it discourages women from thriving still exist.
Going by this school of thought, there is a high tendency for women to be invisible within an organisation — a situation that may have resulted from some gender stereotypes. And female founders and CEOs seem to mostly be at the receiving end.
According to TechCabal‘s report, 55.6% of founders under review attested to the fact that most of the challenges they face are gender-based, especially when it comes to funding.Advertisement
“The difficulty of raising capital is one of the biggest hurdles female entrepreneurs across Nigeria and Africa face. It is six times harder to secure funding than it is for our male counterparts due to cultural and societal barriers that limit a woman’s access to financial capital and this is despite research showing that women deliver more revenue growth, financial efficiency and value in the long-term than male-led businesses,” Funmi Adewara, founder/ CEO, MobiHealth, stated in the report.
Ironically, it is a different story with intermediate and lower-level participants in tech — developers and students studying STEM courses.
According to the report, despite the male dominance at these two levels, the challenges women face do not revolve around gender-bias. For instance, both genders deal with low pay and have to compete for jobs.
In recent years, steps taken to fix the issue of underrepresentation of women in tech, globally, have been focused on students studying STEM courses in high schools and colleges.
Although this may not immediately be the solution to the problem, it is only a matter of time before results are visible. By the time interest is piqued at the basic level, only a little effort would be needed to replicate it among developers and high-profile players.
Way out: Gender dynamism
As is the case for many, there exists the need to assume some typical identity roles based on gender from a young age, and this is primarily influenced by the family.
Is it possible to ignore the fact that this may have contributed greatly to the low interest currently being experienced?
Stephanie Obi, a Nigerian tech entrepreneur and coach, shared the story of how her mum went against stereotypes to help her develop an interest in technology at a very young age.
“I had access to a computer at a very young age, which my mum bought for me. And that’s what inspired me to study computer science. It intrigued me and I decided to learn more about it.”
This lone gesture may have formed the bedrock for her career objectives — creating an appetite to adopt tech solutions, training women on how to develop and adopt tech tools to promote their businesses, and overall, become digitally literate.
“I had exposure to technology, and because of this, I always see tech as an enabler and it has helped with my career,” Obi adds.
Nkemdilim Begho, founder/CEO, Future Software Resources Limited, an IT solution company, also holds a similar opinion.
“The change must start at home and be encouraged in schools and extracurricular activities, which is already happening.”
Obi opines that girls’ disinterest in tech cannot be separated from how it has been presented as something difficult, which they are unfit for. She calls it “a branding problem.”
Begho’s view is that “society positions STEM as something that is exclusive to boys, which is why very few women venture into STEM-related careers. This is not just a function of our educational system, it starts at home where mothers leave everything technology to their husbands or sons. This unavoidably influences how young girls see technology and their role or relationship with it.”
Apparently, there are statistics supporting Begho’s view.
According to the report, the research, which covered students studying computer science, computer engineering, electrical/electronic engineering, and mathematics at the University of Lagos, revealed that women are scantily represented in these departments, sometimes as low as 19%.
However, it appears this may be the case only with public institutions. Obi and another female software engineer responding to Techpoint Africa, aver that there was a fair representation at their different private institutions.
Even then, having a successful run at the tertiary level does not guarantee a smooth run in the real world.
A female electrical/electronic engineering graduate shared how she was excluded from certain tasks because of gender discrimination during an internship.
How to break the cycle
Obi thinks if tech is not demystified for some older women who had no interest, in a few years, it will be replicated in their female wards, and the cycle will continue.
“One of the ways to solve this problem is by showcasing more women making use of tech. It is true they don’t have enough female role models, but if we have more tech-enabled mothers, we will have tech-savvy girls.”
While explaining how she’s been able to draw many women to tech, she speaks of making them realise how it increases their productivity.
“Make them understand that they should learn technology for the sake of something. Tie technology to what is important to them, and you’ll get their interests.”
If anything fuelled Obi’s interest in tech, it was the realisation that she could get tasks done easily with it.
“Although I knew about tech, I had other interests in the fashion business. But when I had a problem in the business, the only way I could think about solving it was to use tech. This came easily because I had a tech background.”
These industry players have stressed how literally focusing on the bias and non-inclusion within corporate organisations and tech companies may not solve the female-inclusion problem in a male-dominated space as much as dealing with it at the foundational level will.
“Tech is amazing and fun, embrace it. It’s also the single field that is relevant today and will remain relevant for the foreseeable future. So the question is, ‘Do you want to actively participate in the economy or not?’ Today there really is no reason why women should not participate in tech,” Begho concludes.
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