The Weekly Round-Up: 15.01.10

Fancy a bite of my reality sandwich?

Fancy a bite of my reality sandwich?

The Round-Up used to enjoy a nice game of buzzword bingo every so often, ticking off the meaningless executive jargon as managers talked about 'solutionising' and then 'putting something on the back burner'. Sales and marketing execs at large software companies are particularly enthusiastic about using this lexicon of nonsense, in the Round-Up's experience.

All this stopped of course when, while playing buzzword bingo in a bid to stay conscious during a particularly tedious and doublespeak filled meeting the Round-Up crossed off every management term on the board, and jumped up over-excitedly, shouting 'House!'

Which, considering it was during the Round-Up's annual appraisal, did not go down particularly well with the boss.

Still, the Round-Up always mentally translates buzzword-speak down into real world English, which usually demonstrates a simple truth - that most people using jargon are talking out of their hats. Or somewhere even less pleasant.

For example: "Our solution is a market leading end-to-end game-changing technology platform." Translation: 'Our thing is for sale. Please buy it'.

Anyway, recruitment company Office Angels has put together a list of its favourite office jargon, and some of the Round-Up's favourites plucked from the list include: "I think someone needs a bite of the reality sandwich" which apparently means someone needs to think more realistically, and "I'm coming into this with an open kimono" which nearly made the Round-Up heave up said reality sandwich almost straight away.

Other cobblers-speak included the gem: "You're a lighthouse on a cloudy night" which means someone has come up with a good idea.

But by far the weirdest phrase on the list was "Let's not try to build a chestnut fence to keep the sand-dunes in" apparently means 'Let's face the problem head on, rather than battling it unsuccessfully'.

The Round-Up has never, ever heard this uttered and frankly, if it did hear it, it would suggest the utterer should have more than a bite of the reality sandwich, but tuck into a whole reality roast dinner with all the trimmings. And then have a long lie down. But feel free to send in your favourite management jargon to editorial@silicon.com for us to marvel over.



More on the as-yet-unannounced (and still possibly-non-existent) product from Apple that has captured the imagination of everyone in technology for the last 12 months and looks to dominate headlines for next 12 too. Yes, it's the Apple Tablet. Or iSlate. Or iTablet. Or whatever you want to call it.

The anticipation is palpable. Only this week, a rumour claiming that the iPhone, the runaway success for the Cupertino company in the last couple of years, was itself just an offshoot from the larger tablet project spread ripples of excitement across the web. Imagine that - the iPhone - just a little left over cookie dough.

Whether it exists or not is irrelevant - there are bigger matters at stake, including the matter of how much it will cost, especially as the Round-Up has been saving its pocket money for quite some time now.

Analysts have predicted the price with various degrees of confidence ranging from $400 to $1,000. The Round-Up suspects it'll be towards the higher end of the scale. After all, such is the anticipation Apple could charge a princely sum and still sell a stack before dropping the price to more reasonable levels. Early iPhone adopters may be able to relate to this.

Still, all will be revealed (maybe) on Wednesday 27 January as Apple is rumoured (yes, that word again) to be holding an event then when it is likely that the Tablet, (if it exists) might be unveiled (maybe). Hope that's clear to everybody...



Finally this week, while technology infuses almost every aspect of our lives the average person in the street doesn't know his SaaS from his elbow. (Find out here if you're unsure.)

Take Steve Jobs for example. Sure, everyone's heard of the iPod (even the Round-Up's mum demanded one for Christmas for heaven's sake) but ask the same people who Steve Jobs is and a slightly embarrassed silence falls.

According to research carried out by Lewis PR to gauge the nation's level of technology knowledge, one in 10 Brits think Steve Jobs is a trade union leader, a further 20 per cent said they had no idea who he is and one in 20 believed he earns a living as a Division Two footballer.

Britain's very own tech superstar Sir Tim Berners-Lee did a little better as 75 per cent correctly identified him as the founder of the internet, (Al Gore's claims notwithstanding).

However, nine per cent believed Sir Tim was head of MI5, six per cent thought he was an Arctic explorer and five per cent could have sworn he was the first British astronaut into space.

Agenda Setters aside, the technology itself didn't fare much better. Eleven per cent of those quizzed could not name a single social networking service (presumably the same people that gave their address as 'living under a rock').

Of those that were mentioned, Facebook was easily the most popular with 72 per cent - with Twitter next at 12 per cent.

Six per cent of respondents thought a VHD - Virtual Hard Disk - was a sexually transmitted disease and four per cent believed phishing, the infernal scheme used by criminals to steal personal details, was an angling method used by Eskimos.

Either way, it doesn't bode well for the vision of a Digital Britain.

However, given the 'rock star' status (comparatively speaking) of Apple's Jobs, there was a delicious irony in that 88 per cent of those surveyed knew Bill Gates was the founder of Microsoft.

Good for you, Bill.

On the other hand, three per cent thought he was an American comedian - although as some people say, there's a tiny grain of truth in everything...


Until next week, take a cheeky gander at the top articles of the week: