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This is Juan Julián Merelo Guervós English-language blog. He teaches computer science at the University of Granada, in southern Spain. Come back here to read about politics, technology, with a new twist

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    Inicio > Historias > Jargon ecology

    Jargon ecology

    Some time ago, we talked about the increasing presence of technobable in real life (apropos this BBC article). Now I think I've found a reason for this.
    Let's go back to thirty years ago, when I was young. Well, very young, actually. I lived in Small Town, Spain, and when you went shopping, there wasn't much of a choice. Milk had to be Puleva, yoghourts were Danones (in fact, nowadays danone is synonimous with yoghourt), cars were Seat or Renault or Citroen, and if they were Seat, there was the smallish 600, the 850 (aka eight-and-a half) and the luxurious 1500...
    There was no need for technobable back then; brand was important, and once you knew you were buying a Seat or a Lanjaron bottle of water (for kids formula), you didn't need to know anything else; besides, why would you want to know, if you didn't had a choice anyways?
    Prosperity breeds diversity, and, fastforward 30 years, here we are. When there are different brands of everything, up to and including oranges, there must be some way of making them different other than price; brands create minute niches so that they can invest effort in those niches and push out competition; thousands of product segments are created where there was only one before. Where there was only yoghourt, plain or flavored, now there is with bifidus, with LC6, liquid yoghourt, greek yoghourt... you name it, there's a yoghourt for you.
    And of course, new product niches create new terms. 20 years ago buying a yoghourt required 1 bit of information: plain or flavored (and only flavored with vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry... OK, 2 bits); but now, you need at least a whole byte (and soon, maybe, an unicode UTF-8 character) to describe the kind of yoghourt you are going to need.
    That term diversity extends to everywhere else in consumer experience, including, but not limited to, anything related to computer science. But I don't see how learning what a megabyte is could be more difficult than, for instance, a lactobacilus casei, something you might need to know to buy those small bottles with liquid sugary goo inside.

    2003-07-12 17:52 | 0 Comment(s) | Filed in

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