Title: The secret origin of “log in”
Context: The language of the computer interface borrows heavily from other disciplines, most of which makes no sense.
Synopsis: Why do we “log in”? It’s a phrase that we are all very familiar with, but when you think about it, it is also a descriptive term conceptually disconnected from the specific action described by the “log in” verb. I enter some personal information to gain access to a secure system, so where does the “log” come into play (“in” is perhaps more intuitive)? Was it simply created out of thin air by some linguistically adventurous computer science pioneer? Is it representative of some hidden technical correlation no layperson could be expected to comprehend? Or was it instead borrowed from an historical metaphor where modern behavior is modeled on a bygone workflow? Your guess is as good as mine, but fortunately, the minutiae of language is never so obscure that someone, somewhere doesn’t at least try to play etymological Sherlock Holmes.
Best Bit: “o, when you next log in to Facebook or Gmail, think about big hunks of wood being thrown off the side of a ship to measure speed.”

via designcult.org