Words of the Year 2023

Principal language families of the world (and in some cases geographic groups of families). Original work by: Zachary Leshin (1990 – ) = PiMaster 3, 2013.

While the focus of Words of the Year 2022 was on social justice, in 2023, one cannot escape the fact that the world is heading towards an environmental catastrophe. Global warming is real, and will continue to happen, with western consumers the primary agents of change, while the citizens of the rest of the world pay for its consequences.

Part of this year’s efforts in appraising words of the year, is to allow readers to determine the meaning of a resurrected word: Technohygiene. Now, for the first time ever in this weblog, people get to determine what this word actually means. This is not a matter of multiple choice. The word is given, what should it mean?

January – Quiet Hiring

Quiet hiring is when an organization acquires new skills without actually hiring new full-time employees. It can mean hiring short-term contractors, or current employees could move temporarily into new organizational roles.

There were some predictions that 2023 would result in a recession, which could point to a slow down in hiring, but not a hiring freeze or layoffs. The main challenge is that there is a talent shortage, mentioned in 2022, that hasn’t gone away. This means it’s harder to increase or even maintain a head count, at the same time there is a desperate need for talent, so that companies can meet (potentially exceed) their ambitious financial goals.

Hiring usually falls into one of three categories: staffing existing roles, creating new roles or addressing an immediate need. Quiet hiring is only concerned about that third category. It prioritizes the most important functions at a given time.

Now, if only employers would ensure that work resulted in improved health for employees and the planet. I note that this term isn’t used in Scandinavia, where the majority of workers belong to trade unions, including this writer, until 2023-12-01, when I resigned from Norsk lektorlag – a union for teachers.

February – Snye

There are times when I can be found using the Internet. Much of that time is spent exploring the world, and discovering new features about it, including examining old as well as new maps. This led to Snye.

Snye refers to a side-channel, especially one that later rejoins the main stream/ channel. Sometimes it refers to a backwater. It is a Canadianism, used mainly in Ontario. The word was discovered by looking at a map of the Chenal Ecarté aka The Snye, a river in the municipalities of Saint Clair and Chatham-Kent in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. It is a left distributary of the St. Clair River that flows to Lake St. Clair, and thus is part of the Great Lakes Basin.

The word is probably adapted from chenail (in Quebequois) a variant of standard French chenal. Chenal comes from canālis in Latin = waterpipe/ conduit, possibly derived from canna = reed/ pipe. Canna is related to the Ancient Greek kánna, from Semitic origins, such as the Akkadian qanū = reed, and related to modern Arabic qanāh = canal/ channel; and, Hebrew qāneh = cane/ reed/ stem.

Latin derivates of canna in English include: canal, cane, canister, cannoli, cannon, canon, canyon, channel. Also related is the surname Chanel.

Snye was first recorded in English in the 1810s.

March – Complisult

Yes, this is the art of combining a complement with an insult. It comes from the NBC television show Community. In more ancient times, it was known as a backhanded compliment. An example: I like your shirt, it almost fits you. A complisult, first sets the recipient up, by saying something nice, to allow that person to start trusting. Then comes the insult, designed to let the recipeint feel an inferior status.

Trump is a master of the complisult: I’ll say it with great respect: Number one, she’s not my type. Number two, it never happened. After he says: I’ll say it with great respect, the follow up phrase is a dismissal.

With complisults, one is entering the domain of a gaslighter/ narcissist incapable of giving a conventional compliment. The complisult serves two purposes. First, it leads the recipient to a false sense of security. Second, it allows the gaslighter/ narcissist gain something. As soon as the recipient gives them something, perhaps just a smile, they respond with the insult or, at best, a comment that shows indifference.

April – Funemployment

The root of this word is not employment, but unemployment. Instead of regarding unemployment as a problem, it is seen as an opportunity.

For months, the above two sentences, were all that I had written about Funemployment. As publication of this post approached, I wondered, if I should seek out a different word as a replacement. Fortunately, writing something else entirely, I looked up synonyms for similar, on thesaurus.com.

On 2023-12-18, dictionary.com (sibling site to thesaurus.com) announced that it was going to present a vibe of the year! Vibe(s) = the overall feel of a situation or person.

Their choice was eras = periods of time in a person’s life characterized by something distinctive and noticeable, such as a particular emotional state, relationship, achievement, or interest. Retirement is possibly one such era.

They explained, vibe of the Year “is based on the shared sense that we’re all looking for ways to define the perpetually shifting stages of our cultural and personal histories.

Having been funemployed for seven years, but with a secure source of income, it is useful to appreciate the vibes this period of time brings with it.

May – Baby Chasing (v) / Baby Chaser (n)

Zonda Chief Economist Ali Wolf, explains there’s a big overlap between select baby boomers and select millennials. They are often competing for the same houses, the former downsizing into retirement houses, the latter stepping on the first rung of the property ladder with a starter residence. The key difference between the two groups is that boomers have equity, in the form of their current debt-free house, while millennials have less. Boomers are attempting to help their less fortunate offspring by selling up and moving close to provide extra help rearing the pandemic babies. These movements are tracked in Zonda’s Baby Chaser Index. Austin, specifically, along with Texas and other locations in the sun belt, more generally, are top locations.

Millennials have pushed up home prices in recent years as demand outweighs supply. Yet, this situation will start to reverse over the 2020s, as Baby Boomers begin aging out of the housing market, while post-Millennial generations are smaller, leading to population growth declines, or even reversals. This could lead to excessive housing in the market, reducing prices.

Reading about this phenomenon once again in 2023-08, it appears that American real estate analysts had underestimated the number of residences boomers would need. Somehow, they had not realized that widowed boomers would want to retain their independence, and would not want to move into someone else’s residence.

June – Salt tooth

The Irish News tells us “… more than 40 per cent of people have a weakness for salty rather than sugary flavours. Experts call this phenomenon a salt tooth, and it’s becoming more common. For while some people are genetically programmed to crave salt, others are now developing a salt tooth as a result of the prevalence of highly processed, salty food in our diet.

Salt contributes to the gluttony crisis. People are eating more than they need. In part, this is because agricultural production has exceeded dietary needs. Greed encourages these excessive production levels. Initially, global food companies thought they were be able to profit from this, by exporting their surplus. However, surpluses became more of a world phenomenon. So, these companies responded by encouraging increased consumption = gluttony.

There are places in the world that are resisting gluttony. Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain (1947 – ) developed the concept of blue zones resulted from demographic work in Nuoro, Sardinia, published in 2004. People concerned with diet should probably investigate The Blue Zones, popularized by Dan Buettner (1960 – ) by reading books, watching videos or listening to podcasts. There is even a short introduction available online.

July – Global boiling

UN secretary general, António Guterres (1949 – ) noted that scientists confirmed 2023-06 was on track to be the world’s hottest month on record. He said the era of global warming had ended and “the era of global boiling has arrived”.

Thermal reflective paint is produced by Cool Roof France (CRF). It claims to be on a mission to reduce the ambient temperature inside buildings in a sustainable and cost effective way, by painting roofs white! White paint is traditionally made up of calcium, solvent and water. Calcium? In France, more than 130 Gg = 130 000 Mg = tonnes of oyster shells are thrown away every year. CRF takes a few tonnes of this waste and uses the outer part of the shell – which is made from calcium – to replace other sources of calcium in its paint.

Yet, oyster shells offer another advantage, it produces a more durable paint. The thermo-reflective roof paint is applied in three layers. The first two layers make it a durable product which will last for around 20 years. The third layer is able to reflect 90 per cent of the sun’s rays away from a building, resulting in an average temperature reduction of six to seven degrees Celsius. In France, this means a 30 – 50 % reduction in air-conditioning (read: energy) usage. For further information, see this Euronews article.

Here at Cliff Cottage, I am considering painting our black metal roof white.

August – Noctalgia = sky grief

Along the sins of developed nations is a propensity to pollute air and water and to create massive amounts of carbon dioxide, that is dumping into the atmosphere triggering global boiling. If this is not enough, the haves have significantly increased light pollution. Aparna Venkatesan (University of San Francisco) and John C. Barentine (Dark Sky Consulting) have coined a new term to help focus efforts to combat light pollution. Noctalgia captures the collective pain humankind is experiencing, as it continues to lose access to the night sky.

To tackle noctalgia, a movement has sprung up across the globe to create dark-sky reserves, where surrounding communities pledge not to encroach with further expansions of light pollution. Elon Musk is not part of this effort. Satellite-based light pollution will require international cooperation and pressure on companies like SpaceX to be better stewards of the skies they are filling with constellations of Starlink satellites. They have put orders of magnitude more satellites into orbit than even a decade ago, with even more expected. Those satellites spoil deep-space astronomical observations when they cross a telescope’s field of view. More importantly, they scatter and reflect sunlight from their solar arrays.

September – Coruscating

Coruscating, readers are told in a Guardian article, means sparkling or emitting flashes of light. It is derive from the Latin coruscāre, to flash or vibrate. Yet, it could also mean the same as excoriating, censuring severely, severely critical or scathing. The article then mentions that David Shariatmadari (?- ) in his book Don’t Believe a Word: The Surprising Truth About Language (2020): “A word’s origins do not reveal its underlying meanings.”

Elizabeth Closs Traugott (1939 – ) explains that the first meaning of toilet in English was a “piece of cloth, often used as a wrapper, especially of clothes”. It adopted several other meanings before taking on its current one.

Michael Proffitt, chief editor at the Oxford English Dictionary, shows this new usage of coruscating dates to at least to 1995. It was added to the Oxford Dictionary of English, in 2017.

October – Rizz

Rizz refers to a term used by Generation Z to describe someone’s ability to attract or seduce another person. Rizz probably comes from the middle of the word charisma. It can be used as a verb, as in to rizz up = chat someone up.

Younger generations continually create opportunities to own and define the language they use.

Thus, another term used by these people is situationship = an informal romantic or sexual relationship.

I find it interesting that the word comes from the middle of a larger word. In Norwegian, many words come from the end. For example, a car (or any vehicle) is referred to as a bil, from automobil.

November – Authenticity

On 2023-11-27, Merriam-Webster announced its word of the year, authentic. Editor Peter Sokolowski stated: “We see in 2023 a kind of crisis of authenticity. What we realize is that when we question authenticity, we value it even more. Can we trust whether a student wrote this paper? Can we trust whether a politician made this statement? We don’t always trust what we see anymore. We sometimes don’t believe our own eyes or our own ears. We are now recognizing that authenticity is a performance itself.

Definitions include: not false or imitation: real, actual, exemplified in an authentic cockney accent; true to one’s own personality, spirit or character; worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact; made or done the same way as an original; and, conforming to an original so as to reproduce essential features.

December – Unabated

Abated, as it refers to fossil fuels, is generally understood as capturing emissions before they go into the atmosphere. Thus, unabated fossil fuels are those without interventions to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The key word here is substantially. Does it mean 75% or 90% or 99%?

The world has known about the damage caused by fossil fuels for a long time. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its second assessment report in 1995. This affirmed the science of anthropogenic climate breakdown. At that point, the world was informed about what was happening.

United Nations Climate Change Conferences, held annually and generally referred to as the Conference of the Parties (COP).

The sixth IPCC report delivered in 2023-03 issued humanity a bleak final warning – the biosphere is on the brink of irrevocable damage.

Thus, it is incomprehensible that the COP28 president was Ahmed Al Jaber, who is also director general and chief executive officer (CEO) the United Arab Emirate’s (UAE) Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). He has stated that climate diplomacy should focus on phasing out emissions, not fossil fuels.

Thus, it is incomprehensible that the powers that be allow the CEO of an oil company to chair the 28th round of the COP climate talks, in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, in the hottest year on record, and with carbon emissions rising.

According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), the COP host country should rotate between five regional areas: 1) Africa, 2) Asia-Pacific, 3) Eastern Europe, 4) Latin American and Caribbean, and 5) Western European and others.

It has now been decided that Baku in Azerbaijan will host COP 29. It is extremely concerning that a significant fossil fuel-producing nation will host the annual climate conference for the third consecutive time, following Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Burning fossil fuels is one of the chief causes of the climate crisis,.

Dishonorable mention – Password Child

I don’t know how to break this to my children, but neither of their names have been used as passwords. The closest I have come is using the name of a fictional character from a book first read some decades ago for a disposable email address. Disposable? Yes, I believe I still have access to it. At a minimum I have its password recorded, but do not recall using it since 2006.

Cambridge, as in a quaint British university, states that password child is a humorous way of referring to a parent’s favourite child, supposedly because the parent will often use the name of that child as a computer password.

My son, Alasdair, visited a graveyard at Morar in Scotland, 5 km south of Mallaig, where Loch Morar empties into the sea. (Mallaig can be found on the map below, just south of Skye). Morar is currently home to 257 souls, the MacLellans lived there before South Uist in the Hebrides, before the Margaree Valley on Cape Breton Island, before Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, before Vangshylla, Inderøy = Inner Island, in Norway. Alasdair discovered that many of the people in the graveyard were MacLellans named Shelagh and Alasdair, spelled as we had chosen to spell their names.

Word of the Year 2023 – Vatnyk

ватник is how the word is written in both Russian and Ukrainian. The Ukrainian transliteration to English, vatnyk, has been chosen, over the more common Russian transliteration, vatnik. Vata in plural. The term refers to a steadfast, jingoistic follower of Russian government (Kremlin) propaganda. Jingoism is a violent, or at least threatening, form of nationalism.

The use of the word originates from an Internet meme first spread by Anton Chadskiy, using the pseudonym Jedem das Seine on VK in 2011. BK in Russian = VK in English refers to ВКонтакте (VKontakte = InContact), a Saint Petersburg based Russian online social media and social networking service. It was later used in Russia, Ukraine, then in other post-Soviet states. The name refers to a cartoon character with a black eye, who wears a padded cotton wool jacket.

During the cold war (1947 – 1991), tankie referred to members of communist parties in western countries, notably the United Kingdom, who followed the Kremlin line, agreeing with the crushing of revolts in Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968) by Soviet tanks. It was used, especially, by Western Marxists who wanted to distance themselves from hardliners.

Vatnik emerged because tankie was seen as an outdated reference, too limited in its ability to insult people on the far left. Because Russia is no longer communist, but still an authoritarian aggressor, tankie lost its political effect. As a result, those previously referred to as tankies are now called vatnik/ vatna.

Supporters of the Russian government, have described vatnik as an ethnic slur, in Wikipedia, and on social media networks. Evidence does not support this position.

Norwegian word of the year – Dupes

According to Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) journalist Ragnhild Laukholm Sandvik, dupes was the biggest shopping trend in 2023. A dupe (duplicate) is a fairly similar but much more affordable alternative to an expensive product.

In 2023, the number of Google searches for the word dupe has set a new record. In addition, more than a third of Norway’s population between 15 and 25 have bought dupes in the past year. Dupes is about making a good deal, but it requires an awareness of rapidly changing online trends. It also helps to make some smart discoveries, as well as being aware of what one can afford.

Final comment for 2023

In 2023, the big three languages I have studied with Duolingo are Ukrainian, Finnish and Gaelic. After visiting the Faero Islands and Iceland, I realized there was less of a need to continue any study of Icelandic, because it is doubtful that I would return there again. Previously, I have used Icelandic online.

I have also signed a Welsh petition that protested Duolingo no longer updating its Welsh course from the end of 2023-10. This petition calls for the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, to personally intervene with Luis von Ahn, the CEO of Duolingo, with the aim of saving the Welsh course. There are currently over 650k active learners of Welsh on Duolingo & over 2 million have learned some Welsh on the course.
The Welsh Government’s target of 1M people with B2 & better skills by 2050 will be negatively impacted by this. If this can happen to Welsh, it can happen to Gaelic! Except …

The National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, has taken over development of the Gaelic language course for language app Duolingo.

Scottish Gaelic was added to the app in 2019, with the course originally being built by a team of volunteers including Skye-based architect Màrtainn Mac a’ Bhàillidh, who is also a member of Gaelic campaign group Misneachd = courage.

Mac a’ Bhàillidh will continue to lead the team working on the course now it has moved over to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, which is based in Sleat on the Isle of Skye. Sleat is not shown on the map below, but it is a peninsula furthest south on the island.

Dr Gillian Munro, principal at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, said the partnership with the app, which has attracted 1.1 million Gaelic learners from across the globe, is to align the language courses both organisations offer.

“The success of Scottish Gaelic on Duolingo demonstrates the growing demand to learn Gaelic both in Scotland and internationally, and we would like to pay tribute to the dedicated volunteers for developing such a great course – ceud mìle taing dhuibh [= a hundred thousand thanks],” she said.

Colin Watkins, UK country manager at Duolingo, added: “As the Scottish Gaelic course grew in popularity, it was important for us to find the right partner to continue its development. The fit with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the National Centre for the Gaelic Language and Culture, is perfect.

“We’re confident the course will continue to go from strength to strength under the direction of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, who are taking the original development team on board to work on the course.”

I believe my McLellan paternal grandfather, Alexander (1869 – 1935) had Gaelic as his first language.

Science Revolution

Often, when I talk to Norwegians, they are not concerned about a climate breakdown. They are looking forward to a warmer climate. Unfortunately, the expected heat will not be distributed equally, and Norway – dependent on the Gulf Stream for its relatively warm climate, may find that winters become colder, rather than hotter, as Greenland loses its ice sheet that in large part propels the global conveyor belt of ocean currents.

This post republishes a diagram showing recent increases in temperature and CO2, along with a letter from (more than) 1 447 scientists about their climate concerns.

Dear Reader,

We are a large and diverse group of scientists and academics writing to you from every continent. First, we were concerned. Then, we were alarmed. Now, we are terrified. World leaders have known about the dangers of the climate crisis for decades, but they are not acting accordingly. It is still possible to turn the tide – but we need you.

None of the climate disasters unfolding before our eyes were inevitable. In 1992, virtually all countries promised to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. 27 global UN climate conferences (known as Conferences of the Parties, or COPs) later, carbon emissions are 60% higher than they were in 1992. Our political leaders are catastrophically failing us.

No country is taking action in line with a 1.5°C pathway, the temperature limit aspired to in the Paris Agreement. Some of the world’s richest and highest-emitting countries continue to approve new oil and gas fields, to subsidise fossil fuels with trillions of dollars every year, and to engage in destructive agricultural practices. Rich countries, which have contributed most to the climate crisis, pretend they have decades left to decarbonize, while poor countries bear the brunt of impacts without adequate compensation or help. Those who demand justice and accountability are increasingly being persecuted.

Continuing on this path will mean untold suffering. Large parts of our planet will become uninhabitable, creating hundreds of millions of refugees, unprecedented famines, and severe political conflicts.

We do not have to surrender to this future. But the window of opportunity to secure an alternative, livable future is rapidly closing. The task is enormous: the IPCC notes that “targeting a climate resilient, sustainable world involves fundamental changes to how society functions, including changes to underlying values, worldviews, ideologies, social structures, political and economic systems, and power relationships.”

These deep, structural changes can improve our quality of life. We have the prospect of less polluted environments, healthier food, and more time for the things that matter. Resources can be better distributed – both within countries and internationally – rather than accumulated by the few at the expense of the many.

The solutions are available. What is preventing adequate action is vested interests and entrenched power – institutions, corporations, and wealthy individuals who benefit from the destructive status quo. We need to rapidly phase out fossil fuels, yet COP28 is being chaired by the CEO of an oil company, illustrating the profound influence of this entrenched power.

Overcoming these vested interests requires a large-scale mobilisation of society. It has happened before: without strong social movements, there would be no civil rights, no women’s right to vote, no weekends, no holidays, nor much of the welfare that considerable parts of the world enjoy today. And it can happen again: citizens in the Netherlands recently forced their government to plan a phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies, while people in Ecuador prevented oil extraction in the Amazonian Yasuni National Park.

But we need you. Wherever you are, become a climate advocate or activist. Join or start groups pushing for policies that help secure a better future. Contact groups that are active where you are, find out when they meet and attend their meetings. Find out what kind of engagement suits you best and talk to friends, family, and colleagues to spread the word. If we are to create a livable future, climate action must move from being something that others do to something that we all do.

As scientists and academics, we believe it is now necessary to step up and engage in collective climate action. Like thousands of people around the world, many of us have been advocating and protesting for a better world in a variety of ways, including peaceful civil disobedience.

Join us.

Data Centres in Wind Turbines

WindCORES is best described as a project, founded in 2018 and based in Germany, that operates data centres inside two wind turbines, making them almost completely carbon neutral. This means that previously unused space becomes usable, even valuable. These data centres are powered by the same wind turbines, while fiber optic cables provide internet connectivity.

The concept began about 2013, when WestfalenWIND realized the electricity grid was too weak to handle the electrical power being produced by its wind turbines during peak wind hours. This meant that power from windfarms was switched off due to grid security issues. WindCORES estimated that this unproduced/ undistributed electricity could power one-third of all German data centers

Wind power that never enters the grid is fed to servers located inside formerly empty, large concrete wind turbine towers. Each tower is typically 13 meters in diameter, and could potentially hold servers throughout most of their 150 meters height. On average 85-92% of the power needed to sustain such a data center comes directly from the host turbine. When there is no wind, electricity is obtained from other renewable sources, including solar farms and hydroelectric power plants, via the electricity grid. It is claimed that a typical German data center releases 430 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour. WindCORES servers will release 10 grams.

Currently, windCORES has a fully operational data centre in a wind turbine in Paderborn, a city in eastern North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Initially, For IT, WestfalenWind IT and Green IT installed four fire-resistant IT safety cabinets, housing 62U server racks, with Fujitsu’s Primergy servers and Eternus storage units.

It has about 150 customers of varying size, co-located in the towers offering cloud solutions. Zattoo, is one of these. It is a carbon-neutral Swiss TV streaming platform with several million monthly. Zattoo joined windCORES in 2020, when it moved one of its six data centers into a wind turbine, 218 channels are encoded with windCORES . By the end of 2024, Zatoo plans to relocate more existing servers to the wind farm, making it Zattoo’s main data center location.

WindCORES has recently opened a larger, second location called WindCORES II at Windpark Huser Klee, a 50.85 MW onshore wind power project, also located in North Rhine-Westphalia, but at Lichtenau. The windfarm was commissioned in 2015. The data centre was built for BMW, occupying three levels (20 meters) of space.


Some µs after I had typed in the title of this weblog post, I wondered if it should be changed to A in B. After all, the local bus company is called AtB, which in the local trøndersk dialect means A to B. Yes, this dialect specializes in shortening words, so they are barely understandable, even to other Norwegians. While A and B refer to random locations/ stops in the bus network, A refers to any type of product that can be made or stored in a container B, in the original example. More specifically, my reasoning was that readers could be asked to reflect on: What can be housed in a wind turbine mast? or, possibly: Where can data centres be located? In the end, I decided to take the easiest action and do nothing.

There is no reason why other companies in other places in the world could not open data centres in existing wind turbines, even in Trøndelag.

Slide Scanners

The Plustek 8200 SE slide scanner kit. Image: Plustek

I am related to a historian, who is enthusiastic about transportation, especially trains and aircraft. Many years ago, he approached an octogenarian about borrowing some slides and other documentation, of transportation infrastructure from the 1950s. This person informed the historian that he had thrown out his slides, because he knew they were worthless, but had kept the slide frames, because he knew that they would be valuable. This event probably took place about 2010.

At the time, we had just purchased a slide scanner and had copied some of our 4 000 slides, taken over a period of about 30 years. This may not seem like a lot of photos, but in these ancient times, one had to pay for rolls of film, as well as for the development, not to mention the frames. Fortunately, those days are past. Today, even old phogies constantly use a hand-held device that functions not only as a camera, but as an audio and video recorder. The world moves forward, sweeping the older population along with it.

Just to make sure everyone is on the same page, the purpose of a slide scanner is to transform analogue format images, typically preserved on 35 mm slides, less often film negatives, into digital images. The pixel quality of a slide generally exceeds that of images taken with a contemporary smartphone.

Our first slide scanner, a Jobo SnapScan 9000, was able to scan analog 35mm slides and store the digital content on a SD card in the form of a 9 megapixel image. The manufacturer would have us believe that this resolution was sufficient, and that the scanning process was both Quick & Easy. It wasn’t. Because the scanner operated independently of a computer, users were forced to preview scanned image on an insufficiently small LCD screen. The entire process was a nightmare, that required the user to follow a complicated procedure. We found it necessary to have this written on paper.

This scanner is still available for purchase today, but if readers are contemplating the acquisition of a slide scanner, it is probably better to have one that connects directly to a computer. This will allow the scanned slide to be evaluated at a higher resolution. The images can be scanned as files in an appropriate image format, that can be saved in folders and subfolders that are organized as the user wants. This process is similar to how images are saved to a computer, when a smartphone is connected using a USB cable.

Thus on 2022-02-04, we acquired a new slide scanner, a Plustek OpticFilm 8200i SE, that can scan negatives and slides in about 113 seconds. Yes, you will need at least two minutes to process each slide, but to calculate time use, allow at least three minutes. That is, 20 slides in one hour. A project involving 4 000 slides will take 200 hours = probably many months.

The scanner has a built-in infrared channel to detect surface dust and scratches. This is very useful to remove defects without retouching images.

The resolution is 7200 x 7200 dpi (69 Megapixels) for 35mm negative film and mounted slides. Not all of this will be used because the image on slides is rectangular not square, 24 x 36 mm. The system allows for a 48-bit input, and a 24/48-bit output. In addition, there is up to 3.6 Dynamic Range Enhanced Multi-Exposure Function for improved image quality.

Software includes Plustek QuickScan and LaserSoft Imaging Silverfast SE Plus. Out of the box, these support Windows 7/ 8/ 10/ 11 (64-bit). Mac OS 10.7 ~ 14.x usesr can download drivers from the Plustek website. Linux users would find it better to install a dual boot system with Windows, or borrow a Windows computer.

This software provides multi-format output options: JPG, TIF, PCX and BMP. The SilverFast® SE Plus 8 software helps the cleaning and detailing of the scanned images. The machine was made in Taiwan.

Once slides have been converted, they can be manipulated digitally, just like any other digital image. Red eye issues, and other imperfections in the original image, can be corrected. One can crop them, make collages or introduce other fake elements, if that is desired. Different versions can be constructed for different purposes. Colour filters are often useful, to create monochrome or brightened variants. Enthusiastic users can undoubtedly find artificial intelligence (AI) options to fulfill their desires, but this will have to be done with software that is not part of the Plustek system.

While the slides themselves may be regarded as a backup, physical slides degrade over time. Digital files don’t, but have other issues. The use of a network attached storage (NAS) server, has been discussed previously. Regardless of whether a person uses that approach, or arranges backup in other ways, the 3-2-1 rule still applies: Keep at least three (3) copies, store two (2) backup copies on different machines/ types of storage media, with one (1) located off-site. If you have a good relationship with family or friends, offer to store a copy of their photos (and other important documents) while they store yours.

While some scanner manufacturers claim to automatically upload files to cloud-based storage services, this is not necessarily appropriate, for one never knows how they will be used, or how many others will be able to access them. If a cloud service is to be used, it should only be trusted with encrypted files.

Another benefit of scanning slides, is that it eliminates the need for yet another device – the slide projector. These can be difficult to find, and the situation will only get worse.

A slide scanner is not just useful for slides, it can be used to digitize negatives. These will be processed to reverse colours so that the result appears as if they were slides. As fewer and fewer people actually use photographic film, it is becoming increasingly more difficult (and expensive) to have images printed from negatives.

Beyond the Slide

A slide scanner will not help anyone wanting to preserve printed photos. For this the device to choose is a flatbed scanner. For most households, the quantity of photographs is so small that there is no need to invest in a more expensive sheet-fed scanner. These are also notorious for damaging photos when they are inserted into the device. Models with dust and scratch removal capabilities, only remove these defects from the digitized images, not from the originals.

Some flatbed scanners come with a film attachment, which allows slides and negatives to be scanned.

The scan area of a flatbed scanner is typically letter size = 8.5 x 11 inches = 216 mm x 279 mm used in North America or A4 = 210 x 297 mm = 8.27 x 11.69 inches, used in the rest of the world. There are also A3 = 297 x 420 mm scanners, and larger units but these are disproportionately much more expensive.

Images should be set against the top and one side edges of the flatbed. Glass should be cleaned to remove dust, and prevent damage to the original photo/ slide/ negative. Images should be scanned individually. Image quality, especially in terms of its relative lightness or darkness can be examined using the histogram feature on the scanner preview screen. A scanner is just a camera, by another name. An 8-bit mode image gives 256 discrete brightness levels between absolute black (0) and absolute white (255). Traditional (but now antiquated) light meters used with 35 mm, and other cameras, typically measured 18% gray, the mid-point between black and white = 128. This encouraged photographers to expose at the mid-point, to take advantage of the camera’s dynamic range. More extreme exposure, will limit the device in its ability to record the image.

The histogram, a prominent tool for photography and digital image processing, is a graph that displays brightness levels from the darkest to the lightest, arrayed across the bottom from left (darkest) to right (lightest). The vertical axis (height) shows the relative proportion of the image that can be found at any particular lightness level.

Scanners (and many cameras) have a range of about 5 f-stops, where each f-stop is a doubling or halving of the amount of light hitting the sensor. Some photographers eliminate the top and bottom three values, then divide the remainder into five zones 50 levels wide, that they label  very dark/ dark/ medium/ light/ very light. This accounts for 3 + 5 x 50 + 3 = 256 levels. In contrast, the human eye, is capable of discerning the world in about 10 f-stops of light.

Archival copies of images should be saved in PNG = Portable Network Graphics format. Wikipedia lists the following reasons for using this format: portability, with software and hardware platform independence; completeness, allowing truecolor, indexed-color, and greyscale images; an ability to code and decode in series; progressive presentation, that allows for an initially image approximation of the entire image that is progressively enhanced; transmission error detection; losslessness, all information is preserved; efficiency; efficient and consistent compression; easy implementation; interchangeability, with any PNG decoder capable of reading all PNG data streams; flexibility, allowing future extensions and private additions without affecting the previous point; and, freedom from legal restrictions, the algorithms used are free and accessible.

Log images as they are digitized, and develop an appropriate filing system. This can save time, used with unnecessary re-scanning. Scan everything and keep it. Digital storage space is cheap. The Backup 3-2-1 rule states: Make 3 copies of everything you care about. Use 2 different storage formats. Keep 1 copy off-site.

It should be noted that many Apple and Adobe products deliberately make working with PNG difficult. Resulting files are larger than necessary, because these companies have a vested interest in other formats, such as TIFF = Tiled Image File Format.

A New Computer

Some people like to make their life complex. There was a time when one could say that there were two types of people: those who use Apple products, and those who use Windows. This was obviously before Android and Chromebook. Having a Commodore Amiga as a first computer in the mid 1980s, has made dualism a non issue. We have owned Apple products, including iPhones and Macbooks. We have used Windows machines at work and privately. We have owned a Chromebook. Yet, Linux is our go-to operating system.

Unfortunately, Linux does not work effectively with a Plustek OpticFilm 8200i SE, or its SilverFast SE 8 software. One approach for Linux users is to transform an older machines into a dedicated Windows machine, but with Winaero Tweaker installed, to make it livable. Advice to others: If Windows 7 or an even earlier version is to be used, keep it offline.

What to do after scanning

A person with a slide scanner, and experience in copying their own slides, is a person with a valuable resource, especially for older people who have not made an effective transition from analogue to digital. Volunteering to help others, can begin by letting others know you have equipment and skills available.

Once slides have been digitized, more work can be done if the resulting images are considered digital assets. This topic will be taken up in a future post, partially written but with an unscheduled publication date, titled Digital Asset Management. Part of this post will also deal in greater detail with volunteering, helping others to digitize their slides, and helping people to share them.

This post has had a long development. It was originally written 2021-05-30, but modified 2022-04-15 when new content was added. It was updated once again, starting on 2023-11-09.


Sometimes a single letter changes the meaning of a word. A quadracycle (with an a in the middle) describes a small, human-powered, four wheel vehicle. In contrast, a quadricycle (with an i in the middle) is a small, motorized four wheel vehicle. This word with an i is the topic of this weblog post. A quadricycle was officially defined by the European Union in 1992, and refined and divided into two official types, in 2006: Light = L6e whose unladen mass < = 425 kg, not including the mass of the batteries in case of electric vehicles, with a maximum design speed < = 45 km/h, and a maximum power < = 6 kW; and, Heavy = L7e whose unladen mass excluding batteries < = 450 kg for passenger vehicles or < = 600 kg for freight vehicles, with a maximum design speed < = 90 km/h, and a maximum power < = 15 kW. Other rules also apply. In other parts of the world, especially North America, the term microcar is used instead of quadricycle.

The driving age limit for these vehicles varies with the jurisdiction. L6e can be driven in France by someone who is 14. In Finland the age limit is 15, but in general in Europe it is 16. For many secondary school students, a L6e quadricycle has replaced the bicycle, moped and/ or bus, for transport to school and leisure activities. For L7e vehicles, the general minimum age to drive is 18.

Yet, quadricycles can be dangerous. Locally, two girls (15 and 16 years old) were killed in Steinkjer 2023-07-13 when their L6e vehicle collided with a conventional passenger car at a hilltop with limited vision, on county road 6982.

Driving behind a quadricycle can be a frustrating experience. They are difficult to pass at the best of times on Norwegian roads. There are few places where they can pull in to allow other vehicles to pass, and some drivers of them have no intention of making it easier for others to pass them.

The name quadricycle is derived from Henry Ford’s (1863 – 1947) first vehicle design, the Quadricycle, made from 1896 – 1901. It ran on four bicycle wheels, with a mid-mounted engine using chains to drive the rear wheels. It had a maximum speed of 32 km/h. Various vehicles were handbuilt, until production of the model ceased.

Henry Ford sits in his first automobile, the Ford Quadricycle, in 1896. Photo: Newsweek


LUVLY, the company, was founded in 2015 in Stockholm, Sweden. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find out what they have been doing between then and now. Surely, it doesn’t take eight years to design a quadricycle L7e, even one with innovative design and production features?

The company’s electric vehicle (EV), is the LUVLY 0. It has been designed to be small and light, in two different ways. First, to reduce shipping costs and emissions, by shipping what amounts to a flatpack of 20 vehicles in a single container, ready to assemble in an assembly plant at various locations throughout the world, particularly in Europe. Second, in terms of the assembled vehicle. It is light because it lacks features that others would regard as fundamental. Think fenders or a rear window or a dashboard or air bags or charging technology.

Instead of providing a screen to provide information to drivers, LUVLY relies on the driver coming equipped with a smartphone, to be used with the LUVLY app.

According to press reports, The LUVLY O quadricycle will be launched in 2023, in Stockholm, Paris and Madrid. There aren’t many days left for that to happen! LUV stands for light urban vehicle. It is 2.7 m long, 1.5 m wide, and 1.4 m tall. It has a curb weight of 380 kg. Its 6.4 kWh battery pack, it has a maximum range of 100 km, which is adequate for most commuting, but not much else.

It has a top speed of 90 km/h. Currently, that speed is the maximum allowed on any of the roads we commonly take in Norway. Other places, including a future Trøndelag, when the E6 highway is modernize, allow 110 km/h.

It comes with two portable batteries that weigh 15 kg each, and plug into ordinary wall sockets for charging. They cannot be charged using conventional EV chargers. This may be fine at a workplace or house, but I wonder what happens if one runs low on electricity at a shopping mall?

Quadricycles are not subject to the same safety rules as conventional cars, including EVs. Thus, they are not required to be physically crash tested or to have airbags installed.

Euro NCAP’s first tests in 2014 on heavy (L7e) quadricycles showed major shortcomings in safety. The organisation called for more realistic requirements from the regulators and for quadricycle manufacturers to take more responsibility for the safety of their products.  Quadricycles still lack basic safety features found on small cars. Legislators fail to challenge manufacturers to do more and give a false impression to consumers that these vehicles are fit for purpose. They are not.

The LUVLY O has been crash tested using computer simulations. Having studied computer simulation, I admire this approach. Unfortunately, crashing vehicles gives insights that simulations cannot match.

I am intrigued by LUVLY’s unconventional approaches to manufacturing. Flat panels and connectors are used to construct strong, three-dimensional sandwich composite structures resulting in a strong but light chassis.

Currently, LUVLY claims its approach to manufacturing is unique. It may be suitable to have a factory for manufacturing components in one location in the world, and numerous assembly facilities elsewhere, but this approach to production may not be cost effective. LUVLY admits there won’t be a large rollout immediately. I am skeptical that they will be able to transfer this technology to others.

Most vehicles have production runs that number in thousands of vehicles, as a minimum. Exceptions exist. It may be possible to produce limited editions of exotic vehicles, but producing limited editions of an ultra-basic quadricycle in not one of them.

LUVLY will probably never be major manufacturer of vehicles, but may end up as a minor producer. There is a market for niche products. There may be a market for minimalist commuter vehicles and delivery vans. I am not totally convinced that a sports car will be viable.

Vehicles have to be appropriate for the roadways on which they are used, as well as the people using them. At this moment, there is insufficient data to either confirm or deny the safety characteristics of a LUVLY 0. It could well be a suitable city car if used at low speeds, in some environments. It is more difficult to imagine its use in more rural environments, where it could meet large vehicles travelling at high speeds on convoluted roads. While younger drivers have quicker reactions than older drivers with more sluggish movements, I would not encourage anyone (young or old) to drive a LUVLY 0 or any other quadricycle, until adequate safety equipment is in place.

A Mobilize Duo, a quadricycle with three seats and an airbag, made by Renault, and available on a subscription basis.

The most popular EV among the members of my amateur radio group, is a Mitsubishi I-Miev. As a used vehicle it is cheap to buy and to run. More importantly, it has passenger car safety features, even if these are not top of the class. These are used almost exclusively as commuter vehicles. Another choice is the Renault Twizy, which has just stopped production 2023-09. It is a two-seater quadricycle that is equipped with an airbag. Its replacement, the Mobilize Duo quadricycle comes with three seats and an airbag. It can be configured as an L6e vehicle with a top speed of 45 km/h, or an L7e vehicle with a top speed of 80 km/h. This is made by Renault, but is only available on a subscription basis.

Note: Once again, I would like to thank Don Wong for bringing the LUVLY 0 to my attention. Thanks, Don!