Thursday, September 01, 2005

The End of Innovation?

Have we reached the end? Is there nothing else? Nothing more?

Consider these facts:

Chip manufacturers have hit widely publicized plateaus, if not
full-fledged ceilings in clock-speeds. And even then, bus speeds are
still bottlenecks in recent models.

The iPod was released nearly four years ago. FOUR YEARS! That is an
eternity in the dog-years we use to measure time in technological
matters. And yet, who is the iPod killer? Who has come up with a
innovative improvement to the portable music market? One time
competitors, already entrenched, pass away with little fan-fare. Of
course, they have no fans...

But, to hear the iPod-heads, their little digital companions are the
be-all and end-all. The only things we can wait for is increased
hard-drive capacity, flash memory increases, video playback,
mobile-phone versions &ct.

God help me, my limited time playing with the little beasties has almost
sucked me into their cult-like life-style.

But do we really have nothing to look forward-to but more of the same?

Will 2025 find us all listening/watching/talking-on our 500TB iPod?

In looking up some info. for work I stumbled across what may be the
cause of this dearth of truly new tech. The very life-blood of
technological progress has been fueled down through the years by an,
allegedly, limited commodity.

And to make matters worse, given the date on this document, we clearly
have to ask ourselves, is it too late? Have we passed the point of no

For we, my friends, have apparently reached:

Acronymic Anemia
Severe Acronym Shortage Cripples Computer Industry
May 8, 2002

SILICON VALLEY, CALIFORNIA (SVC) -- According to a recent
study by the Blartner Group, 99.5% of all possible five
letter combinations have already been appropriated for
computer industry acronyms. The impending shortage of
5LC's is casting a dark shadow over the industry, which
relies heavily on short, easy-to-remember acronyms for
everything from product names to inside jokes.

"Acronym namespace collisions (ANCs) are increasing at a
fantastic rate and threaten the very fabric of the
computing world," explained one ZD pundit. "For example,
when somebody talks about XP, I don't know whether they
mean eXtreme Programming or Microsoft's eXceptionally
Pathetic operating system. We need to find a solution to
this problem fast or chaos could be the result."

Leaders of several SVC companies have floated the idea of
an "industry-wide acronym conservation protocol" (IWACP --
one of the few 5LCs not already appropriated). Explained
Bob Smith, CTO of IBM, "If companies would voluntarily
limit the creation of new acronyms while recycling outdated
names, we could reduce much of the pollution within the
acronym namespace without the use of new government
regulations or programs. The last thing we want is for
Congress to get involved and try to impose a solution for
this SAS (Severe Acronym Shortage -- also a software
program) that would likely only create dozens of new
acronyms in the process."

Several members of the Internet Engineering Task Force want
to place a limit on the number of new acronyms that can be
defined per RFC document. "We all know that a huge
percentage of the industry's acronyms were given birth in
old RFCs," said one IETF participant. "Every Internet
protocol has two or three dozen acronyms attached to it.
If we could get developers to refrain from acronymizing
everything, we could nip the impending 'acronymclysm' in
the bud."

Eric S. Raymond has offered to help by requesting that the
Internet community refer to him simply as Eric S. Raymond
instead of ESR, thus freeing up a coveted 3LC. (RMS, JWZ,
and LBT were unavailable for comment at press time.) Mr.
Raymond also wants open-source software developers to
reconsider using the GPL or BSD licenses instead of
inventing another license and creating yet another acronym
in the process. "Open Source already depends heavily on a
steady supply of acronyms -- 45.7% of projects on Freshmeat
use acronyms for their names," he said. "Don't poison the
water with acronyms for frivolous licenses -- let's use our
precious natural resources wisely."

ICANN Emperor Luart Synn, desperately searching for a
reason for his organization to exist, has offered to open
up a new Top Level Domain exclusively for registering
acronyms. "Within three months, every 5LC from AAAAA
(American Association Against Acronym Abuse) to ZZZZZ (Zoe
Zephyr's Zero Zucchini Zone [a store that sells only meat
products]) will be occupied. What we need is a central
registrar for domain names and a way to resolve disputes
between competing parties that have claims to the same
letter combinations. We can do for acronyms what we did
for domain names."

Mr. Synn's proposal has drawn mostly yawns from the CIAL
(Computer Industry At Large). It seems clear that BECs
(Big Evil Companies) will always win out against SFTDHARPPs
(Small Fish That Don't Have Any Real Political Power) in
any acronym dispute. At any rate, most developers don't
like the idea of submitting an ARR (Acronym Registration
Requests) anytime they string a few capital letters

Indeed, some people believe that the "acronym shortage" is
a myth. "The military and all other government
bureaucracies have depleted the acronymspace for years,"
explained one member of the Humorix Vast Spy Network(tm).
"Virtually every 3, 4, 5, and 6 letter acronym has been
gobbled up by the US Air Force alone since at least the
Reagan administration. Has there been a crisis? Has the
government collapsed because people couldn't tell whether a
PDO was a Paid Day Off or a Portable Distributed Object or
a Pretty Dumb Officer? No! Life will go on no matter how
many acronyms we define."

Humorix: Linux and Open Source(nontm) on a lighter note
Web site:

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