'Did you hear...'
A few weeks back when Sun Microsystems Inc. and Google Inc. announced a joint press conference, the tech blog community was all aflutter. Many predicted the two would announce a Web-based Office suite, a Microsoft Office-killer that could be accessed online. Big news, yes? Except the actual announcement was far more modest, namely that Sun would offer a Google toolbar with downloads of its Java Runtime Engine. Big news, no. But did our unflappable brothers in the Fourth Estate correct the hasty misperceptions of the buzzing bloggers? Hardly. In fact, many reporters, who possibly wrote stories before the conference so they could post the stories immediately afterward, ran their breathless Office-killer stories anyway, fudging the details. Quoth the AP: 'The move could lead to Google offering next-generation word processing, spreadsheet and collaboration tools.' Or it could mean nothing more than Google is purchasing a lot of Sun's gear. Or that Google is simply picking up some lessons from the Sun's well-oiled Hype Machine. The march of time frames.
Once upon a time frame, terms such as days, months and years were strong enough to stand on their own. Now, it seems everybody has to put them in a frame. It's not just that you hear about a 12-to-18-month time frame, a usage that is time-tested and reasonable. But you hear about the 'July time frame' and the '2006 time frame.' It comes up everywhere from speeches to casual conversation. What gives? Is 'the March time frame' any different from March? Is it a weasel term used in case something set for, say, the October time frame spills into November? Or is it just another case of overgrown bizgovspeak? We guess the latter. We're just glad it didn't catch on earlier in history: 'In the four-score-and-seven-years-ago time frame ... .' Bring forth your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org