Sacrilege! 16 Other Time-Honored Tech Industry Traditions We Should End Right Now

By  |  Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 10:03 am

philschillerForty-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?

12. Use of William Shatner in commercials for tech-related products and services. Shatner endorsing the Vic-20 back in 1981 or so: cool. Shatner endorsing Priceline in 2008: tired.

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?

14. Laptops named after high-end Italian cars. Like the Acer Ferrari and Asus Lamborghini. Until and unless Ferrari names a car after Acer and Lamborghini names one after Asus.

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?


Read more: , , , ,

10 Comments For This Post

  1. Dave Zatz Says:

    Yeah… I’d like to see fewer Apple references in top 10, err 16, lists 😉 Though, I kinda like rebates. Vendors count on 50% (or whatever) of folks not redeeming them which in turn subsidizes my discount.

  2. maria Says:

    3 and 5 are my favorites.

    P.S. Bill Shatner is never tired.

  3. Dave Barnes Says:

    re: “13. Consumer-electronics stores that want to check your receipt at the door.”
    I just say: “No.” and walk out the door.

  4. zato Says:

    Any other nominees?

    11. Articles on anti-Apple/Google propaganda sites that list 10 things that should end, and not one mention of Microsoft.

  5. Harry McCracken Says:

    That’s me, all right–Mr. anti-Apple/Google propagandist…


  6. Abbie Kendall Says:

    I’m sick of the Apple ads, too. And I liked Microsoft’s “I’m a PC” ads, but they disappeared almost immediately after first appearing. Anyone know why?

  7. Abbie Kendall Says:

    Oooh, Zato, that’s harsh criticism that’s uncalled for. (Take some Midol.)

  8. Tom Borowski Says:

    I agree with the whole list. Number 4 will probably take cafe of itself pretty soon, since the most commonly known feline species’ names are pretty much all taken.

    Another one I would add: people should stop calling things they want to be associated with speed a “superhighway”. Traffic crawls at 65mph on highways, if it moves at all. And don’t even think of using “autobahn” instead, thinking German highways have no speed limit. Traffic here crawls equally slowly, except maybe from 3am to 6am on Sundays.


  9. John Says:

    I suspect that Apple has long ago planned the end of the cat names for OS X versions. It was pretty clever to use Snow Leopard as being tightly coupled to Leopard; instantly understandable. Lion will probably be the last one. After that, who knows?

    I like the Apple Mac/PC ads. They’re low key, they’re not in your face, if you don’t like them, ignore them.

  10. Your industry information guide Says:

    That was seriously funny. There are a lot of traditions that the tech world has been following for ages now. Guys, its time for some new innovations