Enter - the most primary of all interactions. In the beginning of computers I'm sure this would have been phrased as Input for its insertion of punch cards or stream of 0's and 1's but today this means much more. We enter whenever we touch the keyboard or click our mouse. We may enter text into a document or enter a formula into a spreadsheet. Selecting a tab, highlighting text, playing a movie or music file, or any other click (or double-click) we make is a form of entering a command. To enter is the origin of which all else follows. You may think that compute is a verb that belongs on this list, but I think that action is done by the computer and not the owner. For it to compute - we must enter its commands. Enter is our communication to the machine to tell it what to do.
Copy - a verb of convenience. To copy is to make an imitation of an original and so copy is the action in which our actions are made easier or more efficient. Besides the obvious print, fax, or scan, we copy portions of our work to complete other tasks within the same document. Copy and paste is used most often with text in word processing but it may also involve transferring images or other elements about the page. We copy links, code, files, text, images, and more in many applications we use.
Format - is the organization of our interaction. Formatting is where we put our personal input on how we want something to appear. Formatting a document includes everything from tabs and fonts to color and spacing. Formatting may involve pasting, deleting, or adding a table. The very documents themselves can be saved in a variety of formats for intended uses. We format when we switch to full-screen views or arrange the homepage on our browser. Blogs such as this one allow the author to choose color schemes and backgrounds. HTML, or Hyper Text Markup Language, enables programmers to format the elements on Web documents. Formatting allows us to decide on the composition of our views.
Share - is how our efforts are communicated. We share with others and ourselves, be it in the form of emails or saving a file to our desktops. It is the way we save what we have done or communicate it to a larger audience. This blog post is a form of sharing, as are adding comments in forums, or communicating via FaceBook, Twittter, or Skype. In its personal form, we share with ourselves when we add bookmarks, print a document, or add events to a calendar. Sharing enables our work to become productive.
Search - is how we find what we desire. We may search for help on how to use an application or we may search for that perfect apple pie recipe. Most of our browser experiences are derived from searches for websites, videos, articles, or images. We search when we are looking for something that someone else has produced.
Well there you have it. Feel free to point out all of the flaws in my logic or blatant omissions you may see. Enter, Copy, Format, Share, and Search. It would have been nice to wrap them in a convenient acronym but you'll just have to find another mnemonic device.
[originally posted on RealWorldMath Community blog on March 26,2011]