"pci"s in a "pod"

pci and "pod" -- these are two of my (currently) least favorite things.

as regards the pci thing... i haven't bought a motherboard (by itself), or really looked into motherboards, in probably five years. the last time i was looking around the card slots were isa (dying out), pci, and agp. recently i decided to try and help a friend spec out a new motherboard based on what he needs and what hardware he already has. one thing he has is a pci-x card. so a few years ago they evidently added pci-x. okay, i can understand that.

then they added pci express. so now, back to back, they added two names which are totally easy to confuse. trying to find a pci-x board is a pain, because half the time websites say pci-x they are actually referring to pci express (which is every now and then referred to pci-e). pci express can also come in 4 fruity flavors: 1, 4, 8, and 16. so you'll see pci express x1, pci, pci-e, pci-x, pci express, pci x16, etc. and sometimes even things like pci-x 8 (which doesn't exist because pci-x is just pci-x).

how in the world could the pci folk have pci-x out, then decide they should take this new thing originally called "3gio" (a name quite unique from the current standards) and rename it "pci express"? like that's not obviously going to lead to confusion. hhmmm...what could "x" stand for...how about "express"! but no, they're completely different.

as regards "pod"... apple created a portable music player and called it the ipod. there were other players, but apple's device dominated the market. consumers started to call all portable music players "ipods". then some people figured out they could record things and other people could download them. (okay, that happened long before the players.) but someone figured out they could make it easy to "subscribe" via rss and end users could get the latest recording easily. especially nifty was that you could download it and put it onto your portable player and listen at your leisure while away from your computer. this was similar to broadcasting, but it needed a snappy name (like "webcast", but that was already taken). terms were thrown around, but the one that eventually stuck was "podcast". which is kind of dumb, because the whole concept is in no way tied to ipods -- but the marketplace loved calling everything an ipod, so the marketplace decided. apple apparently was more than happy to embrace this branding terminology, eventually (years after the term was coined) incorporating podcast capabilities into its itunes software. the term "podcast" was being thrown around by everyone, including a lot of people who had absolutely no idea what a podcast really was. the word "podcast" came into its own. eventually people started tying the word "podcast" to products and websites and all sorts of stuff, using the word for the purpose it was meant, which was player agnostic. as companies and brands are wont to do, people starting contracting and combining terms to make new names for their products and services that can be used for/with podcasting.

at this point, apple suddenly seems to have decided it doesn't want people using the term "pod". no, not "ipod". just "pod". even though they lovingly embraced "podcast", now that it's become a word in common usage (a word the u.s. patent and trademark office has deemed common and thus can not be trademarked) they start worrying -- it seems the nice brand advertising potential they embraced now may dilute their good name (which isn't even actually their name since it doesn't start with an "i"). they've gone after a golf podcasting group, people who make software to keep track of arcade game profits (profitpod), a lady who makes a neoprene slip cover for laptops (tightpod), and a group who makes software along with a website to centralize and automate podcast subscriptions and downloads (podcastready (website) and mypodder (software)), among others. the frenzied sharks...er, lawyers...have even gone after a company who makes moving bags for grand pianos because they're called "pianopods".

i must confess that russell from podcastready.com listens to the radio show i help do (technology bytes -- geekradio.com) and has gone to a number of our gatherings, both monthly and weekly post-show. but that only explains why i'm more cognizant of what has happened -- i'd have the same opinion whether i knew someone involved or not.

also, please don't take my timeline and explanations above as absolute truth of all events. think of it more as a wikipedia entry...maybe it's true, maybe it has some inaccuracies.

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