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Absurd Headlines in the Tech Press

Almost daily I read articles in the technology press that begin with something along these lines:

Today Company X unleashed it’s new Xmonkey technology in a bid to increase its competitiveness against market leader TurboSimian.

Of course, the product was chomping at the bit to be released, which is why they had to be very careful when unleashing it. I understand that the technology press has to take liberties with reality once and a while, since most of the time they’re dealing with products that are really just collections of zeros and ones that have been compiled, put on discs, shrink-wrapped, and sold for hundreds or thousands of dollars. But why is every new product release an “unleashing” event?

Did Sony really “unleash” a terrible bloodthirsty attack dog in May, 2004, when they went live with their new music store? Judging by the store’s performance thus far, this kicker to a C|Net article may be a bit much: “Sony’s foray into music downloads this week unleashes the most potent rival yet to Apple Computer’s iTunes Music Store”.

This is not a new trend. Notice that way back in 1997, Paul Thurrot referred to Microsoft’s latest model for bridging drivers between Windows NT and Windows 95 with the headline: “Microsoft unleashes Windows driver plan. Yes, those fierce lions have been cooped up for far too long. Release them now, before they eat all of the low-level coders in Redmond! This rabid behavior on the part of Microsoft software is not confined to drivers. As it happens, even their security fixes, which you’d imagine might be a bit more relaxed and mellow, along the lines of a basset hound or maybe a St. Bernard, are foaming at the mouth as well. According to, Microsoft finally let the reins go on a snarling, rabid bunch of security bulletins: Microsoft Unleashes February Security Bulletins.

It’s likely not the fault of the journalists themselves. They don’t write the headlines and teasers. Someone else gets to do that, and they probably get rather bored at times, trying to make these essentially boring subjects seem lively and full of vigor. To assist them in this challenging task, I offer my own short list of helpful verbs:

  • shoot, shoots, shot (not to be confused with “pulls the trigger”) – Today Dell shot its new PowerEdge 6003 into the market, hitting IBM and causing massive tissue damage to the computing giant.
  • mug, mugs, mugged – This Friday Oracle mugged Microsoft by clobbering them over the head with a new version of Oracle that is faster and stronger than Microsoft’s SQL Server XL.
  • hogtie, hogties, hogtied – AMD is expected to hogtie Intel next month when they are scheduled to release a quad-core processor, code named “Snidely,” into the high-end server market. Intel’s spokesperson was unable to comment.
  • strafe, strafes, strafed – IBM today made a surprise strafing run at SCO today, injuring three core SCO license claims and damaging their product line, perhaps irrevocably. SCO was strafed at 10:30 am by a preliminary injunction, and their headquarters seems to be in complete disarray as a result of the attack.

C|Net, et. al., are you reading this? No, of course you’re not. But with any luck someday I’ll live to see the day when the unleashing slows to a few isolated incidents each year.

About Erik Schmidt

  • Temple Stark

    Funny – and true. Thanks.