[Ads-l] Antedatings of BTW (1981)

Hugo hugovk at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jul 2 15:21:55 EDT 2016


The OED has BTW (by the way) dated to 1997 [with a parenthetical 1979].

Here's some antedatings from 1981 or earlier.

First with straightforward datings:

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1981 June 14, harpo!ber, “Lion's Book”, in fa.unix-wizards, Usenet[1],
retrieved 2 July 2016, message-ID <anews.Aharpo.261>:

Last I heard, the books could not be copied in any part nor seen by
non-licensees. BTW - Irma Biren has been promoted (she deserved it)
and the new contact would be Francine Glick.

[1] https://groups.google.com/forum/#!original/fa.unix-wizards/12jUlN8kCP0/GS6dKFdNB30J

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1989 May 8, Vince Perriello (Editor in Chief), “Volume 6, Number 19”,
in FidoNews[2], archived from the original on 18 January 2005:

BTW - By The Way

[2] https://web.archive.org/web/20050118194512/http://www.textfiles.com/fidonet-on-the-internet/878889/fido0619.txt

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Finally, a likely earlier one appears in the undated Jargon File (aka
Hacker's Dictionary) version 1.0.4 (possibly from around Jan 1981):

[Begin]
COM MODE (variant: COMM MODE) [from the ITS feature for linking two or
   more terminals together so that text typed on any is echoed on all,
   providing a means of conversation among hackers] n. The state a
   terminal is in when linked to another in this way.  Com mode has a
   special set of jargon words, used to save typing, which are not
   used orally:
        BCNU    Be seeing you.
        BTW     By the way...
[...]
        OBTW    Oh, by the way...
[End]

http://jargon-file.org/archive/jargon-1.0.4.dos.txt

The earliest version found of the Jargon File is 1.0.3 and also undated.

http://jargon-file.org/archive/

An extract of the Jargon File (although not containing BTW) was
published in New Scientist on 12 March 1981 ("How to frobnicate",
Stewart Brand):

[Begin]
File Name: AIWORD. That is, the "Artificial Intelligent (AI) Jargon
File", as genenrated by the computer pilots--"hackers"--at the AI labs
of Stanford University, Massachusetts Instiute of Technology, and
elsewhere. ... The update I have of the File is dated 6 January, 1981,
already decaying.
[End]

That extract is closest to 1.0.4, so perhaps 1.0.4 is from sometime
around 6 January 1981.

A copy of 1.0.5 had been posted to net.misc on 26 Feb 1982, and 1.1.0
had been recovered from a Fall 1981 tape archive.

Version 1.1.3 contains:
The last edit (of this line, anyway) was by Don Woods on 81-07-22.
Version 1.1.5 contains:
The last edit (of this line, anyway) was by Phil Agre, 6/26/82.

---

Hugo

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