Radio Ga Ga, Radio Goo Goo

I was talking with Boring Code Guy yesterday about a new field to be added to a form. He "suggested" that I use a radio button to meet his requirements and went on to ask if I was impressed that he knew the name of them. I fibbed and told him I was. Then he wondered out loud why they were called "radio buttons"? I'd wondered this too and it wasn't until that moment that I'd had any ideas.

It suddenly occurred to me that they are like the buttons on old-style transistor radio sets? You don't see these kind of buttons in the real world much nowadays, but we had them on the radio in the first car I remember my parents owning. My dad still has them on his Roberts radio (to whom his brand loyalty exists merely because they share their name). In this photo you can see the radio has four buttons on top. One - and only ever one - is pressed down. Press another and the other one will pop back up.

This is probably as much of a no-brainer to most of you as is where Check Boxes get their name, but it was something of a revelation for me. I'm kicking myself for not having realised this sooner.


    • avatar
    • David
    • Wed 13 Apr 2005 02:39

    Jeez Jake! Even if they didn't pop up they are still like the tuning buttons on a more modern device - one can only listen to one radio station at once.

    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Wed 13 Apr 2005 04:12

    I know, I know. I'm stupid. It wasn't until I thought about the old-style buttons that it finally clicked (pun intended).

    Please tell me I'm not the only one who hadn't worked this out till now.

  1. hey Jake Please solve my problem.........I'm asking for ur help .........it's urgent for me and i'm not getting it's solution...I'm eagerly waiting for ur reply....I saw that u reply to the comments and write blogs daily but not have time to solve my so small problem for u .......Please jake it's a humble request from my side

    Do solve my problem



    • avatar
    • Aden
    • Wed 13 Apr 2005 04:34



    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Wed 13 Apr 2005 04:59

    Priyanka. If you stop pestering me I *might* get round to answering your question.

    Certain things get on my nerves. One of them is when people post a question and then paste the same text in an email to me, like I won't have already seen it. I can live with that though. What I really don't like is people perstering me for an answer. Yes, I've got time to blog and answer other question, but I am busy and get round to answering emails on an as-and-when basis.

    The fact that you've asked the question once and then followed it with four other posts, three emails and a OT post to this blog - all within a 48 hour period - doesn't help in getting a response out of me.

    Had your original question been a little easier to decipher I might have paid it more attention. Alas, you're going to have to figure this one out for yourself. It's not even such a tricky one. My only advice is that you shouldn't assume JavaScript is easy. It's not. The only other advice I can give is that you consider a career change.

    • avatar
    • Ben
    • Wed 13 Apr 2005 07:54

    Looks like you've got yourself your very own notes stalker, Jake.....

    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Wed 13 Apr 2005 08:01

    Looks like it Ben. Looks like they just graduated from the SMS School of English as well...

    • avatar
    • Dave
    • Wed 13 Apr 2005 08:49

    You have to love it when a consultant like Priyanka, whom is supposed to be an expert and is certainly billed out as such, begs/demands for code to be written for them.

    Priyanka, you are an idiot, next time try searching notes help, part of your answer is in there.

    • avatar
    • veer
    • Wed 13 Apr 2005 09:01

    Some people have to learn it the hard way. Asking help is ok, but to feel that the other person is obligated to do so and demand it is another.

    Atleast Jake is polite about refusing.

    Priyanka, try forums like notes.net

    • avatar
    • Keith
    • Wed 13 Apr 2005 09:57

    Jake, you're on the money. Radio buttons are named after the buttons found in car radios. While portable radios may not work that way any more, most car radios do - the buttons are just electronic and programmable rather than mechanical and pre-set.

    FYI, I once had a co-worker who called them "radial" buttons. When I tried to inform him of his mistake and explained the true name and origin, he said "No, they are called 'radial' buttons because they are round!"

    Then I showed him the documentation (VB4 at the time) which clearly said 'radio.' We both had a good laugh.

    • avatar
    • Tom
    • Wed 13 Apr 2005 10:44

    You're not the only one Jake- this was very informative for me...eheh- I've often wondered at the name, but never gave it much thought. Now I know.

    • avatar
    • Michael
    • Wed 13 Apr 2005 12:21

    I know I'm getting old when commonplace items from my childhood become trivia topics for coders. Yikes!

    Ah, it brings back the memories: like when you could slide from one side to the other on the vinyl back seats when dad made a sharp turn. If you didn't care for that you could take a nap on the back dash. Seatbelt? What seatbelts?!?

    • avatar
    • Jerry Carter
    • Wed 13 Apr 2005 16:20

    Radio buttons? I thought it was because they look like little sub-woofers. ;-)

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