Spitting on the Cross

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The word “innovate” is becoming one of the most abused words in the English language.

It started with Microsoft during its lawsuit. No, they weren’t doing bad things to monopolize the market; they were innovating.

With such a dubious parentage, one would think others might avoid using such a soiled term, but no.

You look at the P2Pers, and they talk like they’d be arrested if they didn’t use the word “innovation” in an utterance. They aren’t coming up with better ways to steal; they’re innovating!

AMD sues Intel. Are they suing Intel because they want to be a big dog, too, and the only way they can do so is to have the government chain and leash Intel (even if justifiably)? No, of course not, they’re doing it for the sake of innovation.

To be fair, I’m about as sure as I am that we’ll keep seeing sunrises and sunsets that Intel will say it did what it did for the sake of innovation, too.

The dictionary needs a new definition of the word:

Innovation: What a geek whines about when he can’t do whatever he wants.

That’s what the word really means today in these circles.

It has become the last refuge of a cyberscoundrel.

Innovation: The Ultimate Good?

Geeks seem to believe that innovation is the ultimate good. Every other value falls before it. It cleans away all other sins.

The P2Pers really get into that. You point them to networks that are used illegally 98-99%, and they say with a straight face that only the 1-2% that isn’t illegal matters.

The last time I heard claims like that, it was people talking about how many sins a drop of the Sacred Blood of Jesus could clean up.

This is ludicrous. This is insane. It’s like saying an open-drug market is OK because some little old lady is selling Coke in a corner.

Innovation Isn’t Always Good

Let’s say I come up with a handy little electronic gizmo that will open up any and all electronic locks and, as a bonus, starts the ignition and unlocks the steering column on cars. I want to sell it for $10, at stores everywhere.

What do you mean I can’t sell it anymore? How dare you get in the way of progress? So what if your house got robbed and your car stolen? Look at all the legitimate uses of my device!

My next invention is a home nerve gas kit. Follow the instructions and fill my innovative invention with commonly used chemicals, and in a half-hour, you’ve got a handy little container of VX. Great for killing roaches and mice!

What do you mean I can’t sell it anymore just because everybody on Wall Street just died in a nerve gas attack that used a hundred of my kits? Oh, was that what that big foreign order was about! The guy told me his Middle Eastern country had a big termite problem, who knew?

So what’s the problem? It’s obviously Wall Street’s fault for not coming up with a better business model to satisfy my customers. They make too much money, anyway. You can’t stop me; you’re . . . you’re . . . chilling innovation!

Sounds insane, right? So why do people keep say the same thing when it comes to doing certain things? Or is it only sane when they do it, and how sane is that?

When you hear that monopolizing an industry promotes innovation, and someone else saying that only breaking up monopolies does the same, well, innovation obviously can mean very different, even opposing things to different people. Intel and AMD will no doubt agree that they need lots of money to be innovative, but you have to wonder what the ratio of money to innovation is.

Ghetto Thought

One of the biggest advantages of the Internet is that it allows people with similiar interests but dissimiliar addresses to get together.

As time goes on, it’s turning out that one of the biggest disadvantages of the Internet is that it allows people with similiar interests but dissimiliar addresses to get together.

This is bad because it allows the creation of mind ghettoes, where any idea or concept, no matter how false, wrong, ludicrous and stupid, become “true” within the group.

In the cyberghetto, you can believe that stealing music is a good thing. You can believe that W stole the last election. You can believe that Hitler was just a misunderstood guy, or that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion gives the lowdown on a real, ongoing conspiracy, or that aliens run the world, and you will find ghettoes that will back up your beliefs, without any reality-based challenge.

No, like everything else “innovative” about the Internet, this wasn’t created by the Internet. Cyberspace just makes it a lot, lot easier, and any activity that becomes a lot easier becomes a lot more prevalent.

There will be those who’ll react to my saying that innovation isn’t always good like fundamentalists would react to my spitting on the cross during a revival meeting.

When you think about it, it pretty much comes down to the same thing, except that the creator of Kazaa is a pretty poor substitute for the Creator of the universe.

Beware of false gods, especially man-made ones. Even ones called “Innovation.”

Ed

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