Sony Releases Dash. Bored?

Yesterday Engadget reported Sony had released their Chumby-powered Dash, a 7-inch touch screen widget box. The Dash is a photo, radio, and Internet streaming device that can make a great kitchen, alarm clock, or table computer, if you only want access to a few widgets in that room. At $199 I guess it’s better than a standalone photo frame, but an old laptop or netbook wold be almost as functional, if a little more clumsy.

More to the point, Sony’s name got me thinking: “Dash” is clearly short for dashboard, which Apple has used as a term for their widget overlay in OS X. And these widgets and other similar applications are named for the terminal holding the speedometer (and more!) in your car. But where did that come from? Certainly not from a gadget/widget perspective, right? 

Thankfully the Online Etymology Dictionary (my own paper-bound Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology was lacking the term) was able to offer up a useful origin:

1846, from dash + board; “board in front of a carriage to stop mud from being splashed (“dashed”) into the vehicle by the horse’s hoofs.” Of motor vehicles, from 1904.

And now we know.

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