By Harry McCracken | Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 10:03 am
Forty-eight hours after the news broke, it’s still kind of stunning. One day, the Steve Jobs keynote at Macworld Expo is arguably the most famous ritual in all of technology. The next day, it’s gone–apparently just because Apple was ready to move on. For a number of reasons, I wish it wasn’t ending. But as Daring Fireball’s John Gruber notes, it’s hard not to stand in awe of Apple’s general willingness to break cleanly with the past rather than just keep doing things because it’s always done them that way.
Apple’s move has left me in the mood to question everything about the reality I thought I knew. So why don’t we reassess a bunch of other long-standing traditions in the world of tech–Apple and otherwise–whose expiration dates may have come and gone? Sixteen nominations after the jump; your contributions are welcome.
1. Google’s “doodles” and imitations thereof. Google now celebrates so many special days with custom logos that all the specialness is long gone. What’s next? St. Swithin’s Day? Penguin Awareness Day?
2. Apple’s “Get a Mac” ads. Once upon a time, they were fresh and new. Then they became part of the air that we breathe. Now Mac and PC are on the verge of being about as hip as Mr. Whipple, Madge, or Aunt Bluebell.
3. Meaningless use of the word beta in describing Web services that are open to everybody. Because it’s…well, meaningless.
4. OS X updates named after cats. Let’s stop the madness before Apple is forced to release ones named after Morris, Garfield, and Sylvester.
5. Product names with “Pro” or “Professional” in them. Unless you’re willing to put “Amateurish” in the name of your lower-end edition.
6. New Intel CPUs code-named after Pacific Northwest towns and rivers. Although at least it’s better than naming chips Crum Elbow or Fishkill.
7. Rebates. We’ve pretty much rid our major cities of squeegee men at intersections. We can get rid of this con game, too.
8. Privacy policies that begin “Your privacy is extremely important to us.“ Howsabout some honesty here? “We’re going to try and become zillionaires by strip-mining your personal information” would be more appropriate in a lot of cases.
9. Phone voice menu messages that say “Your call is important to us.” If it was, you wouldn’t make me sit on hold until the best years of my life are long over.
10. Web 2.0 companies whose names are missing one or more vowels. Flickr’s a great name, but every other site that’s followed its lead would be smartr to buy a vowel or two. (As did Twitter, which–thank God–is no longer Twttr.)
11. Software installers that notify you of every file as they install it. Why do I need to know this information? Especially since usually they fly by too quickly to parse anyhow?
13. Consumer-electronics stores that want to check your receipt at the door. Can we all agree that this doesn’t do much other than to humiliate the vast majority of shoppers who have paid for their stuff?
15. “Just one more thing.” Assuming that Steve Jobs is just going to do his own keynotes without Macworld Expo attached to them from here on out, what about saving us all some time by beginning his presentations with the key news, then saving updates on iPod Shuffle sales for the end?
16. Articles on tech Web sites in the form of lists. Trite, trite trite.
Any other nominees?