Keep taking the pills

The more complex any given technology is, the more likely it is to be ‘demystified’ through the systematic destruction, or appalling misuse, of the English language.

I have made this [letter] longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter. – Blaise Pascal.

There’s one adage in the high-technology business that always holds true. The more complex any given technology is, the more likely it is to be ‘demystified’ through the systematic destruction, or appalling misuse, of the English language.

Let’s take last week’s announcement of ‘the next wave of Windows PC innovation’ from Microsoft and HP, as our first example.

‘The hardware industry and Microsoft are leading the next wave of PC development by creating unprecedented levels of synergy between hardware and software,’ Chairman Bill Gates was quoted as saying in the Microsoft press release.

Not to be left out, Carly Fiorina, chairman and chief executive officer of HP joined in the fun.

‘In a world where technology is increasingly commoditizing, the need for innovation that solves real business problems and creates a richer customer experience is stronger than ever,’ she said. Yes, you read that right too.

Down at Texas Instruments, the marketing guys are in on the act too. When the company rolled out the world’s first 1GHz DSP last week, Greg Delagi, vice president and general manager, digital signal processors, said that the new chip would now ‘enable a true digital lifestyle’.

Staying in Texas, we move swiftly over to EDS, where we were delighted to read recently that ‘the company’s agile infrastructure architecture encompasses Business Process Services (BPS) and Web Services delivered through an industrial-strength agile infrastructure.’

Look, don’t get me wrong. I’ve got a lot of respect for all these companies, having met and enjoyed the company of many of their engineers over the years. They’re all very cool chaps. And they have developed very sophisticated products. But their marketing folks seem to have forgotten that they are selling engineering products. Because by the time that their message reaches poor old hack writers like me, all the engineering in it has gone walkabout.

That’s a pity, because like you, I’m a busy man. And I’ve got better things to do than to take lots of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to block the action of cyclo-oxygenase in my brain in order to counter the effects of reading the stuff. As anyone down my local will confirm.