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State of The Art

by Zettel 

Posted: 10 December 2004
Word Count: 1002

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State of The Art

A paradigm shift in technology has just occurred. A state of the art innovation in data storage, management and retrieval. The name: Self Editing Easy Data System - SEEDS. This is not a sales pitch but a disinterested analysis of this extraordinary new concept that combines low cost affordability; a revolutionary self editing, self-limiting data management system; absolute simplicity and ease of use; driven by the most powerful operating system currently known. And it is extraordinarily cheap as its anonymous creator, in the spirit of the original Internet, wants this system to roll-out to everyone, unhindered by price disincentive or off-putting technical complexity. A system for all that everyone can afford. A people's system.

Some SEEDS Operational Semantics are essential to fully communicate its unique qualities. The following lists the groundbreaking benefits of this new development.

Built In Relevance Determination. A revolutionary concept: instead of a massive quantitative database with a powerful search engine, SEEDS self-limits information by dynamic relevance criteria. It dispenses with search engine power through Pre-Input Semantic Selection and Editing of Data. This is an Information judgement system going way beyond mere storage and retrievability.

Minimal set up costs and very low ongoing maintenance expenditure. Minimal power requirements.

Totally Wire-less Application Technology. World-wide compatibility with all interfacing systems and technology.

Linear Data Streaming. This feature enables elegant data structure solutions with no system imposed architecture. The default linear data structure can be altered at will with no damaging downstream system impact.

Modular Architecture Dimensionality. Inter-linked individual SEEDS units can create complex 3 dimensional meta-system librarial structures of extraordinary comprehensiveness and instant information retrieval.

Light, compact, totally portable. Flexi-structure design means SEEDS can be fully functional in compact mode (a mere 25% or less of optimum operational size).

Free Upgrade: so confident is the inventor, of SEEDS' robustness and unique system longevity, that he undertakes to replace the operating system, free of charge if SEEDS' Computer Operational Relevance Notation is surpassed, either in power or application utility, within five years.

Peripherals Expense Elimination System. The SEEDS marketing infrastructure communications have been carefully refined to achieve what we like to call a total customer unique networked transmissability. (Don't even think about it). Components are easily available, inexpensive, and robust. In extensive system testing, the critical functions have never failed.

Easy Access and Retrieval are central features of SEEDS. It even provides a transparent self-prompt system to ensure that all outstanding live issues are constantly brought to the attention.

Zero Induction Training because SEEDS is so easy to use, once users are introduced to it, its built in flexibility empowers them to develop it quickly to their own personal idiosyncratic needs and preferences.

Total Information Transparency: all information availability is immediate and transparent.

Ongoing recording and update is simplicity itself with SEEDS's Judgement Adjustment Matrix.

SEEDS is totally compatible with all current systems in the market place. All adaptation derives solely from the quality of the basic software.

SEEDS's Overall Active Transmission System makes it fax, e.mail and even post compatible at negligible cost.

Data Input Modulation. No frills, no fuss, so simple that even young children can use the system quickly and effectively.

Data Amendment and Deletion is simple, easy and effective.

A mega-bit of Double Integrated Storage and Data Access Transmission.

Black and White and Full Colour compatible system.

Full, hassle free, re-cyclability of all components.

Widespread availability. Through its Multi Outlet Matrix initiative, the SEEDS programme suite and intentionally limited model range, is making SEEDS packages available at a multiplicity of retail outlet nodes.

User Feedback Outlines means the SEEDS system is the most universally tried and tested Data And Fact Transmission currently available in the market place.

SEEDS is totally compatible and can interface with all historic recording systems without intervening software.

 A massive programme of customer feedback has been undertaken under our Customer Reverb Answerback Programme which for efficient information streaming has relied heavily on the Customer Unique Network Transmission System.

The results are startling: 100% delight and satisfaction, even to the point where many customers report a deep psychological, tactile and emotional affinity with SEEDS components. Recipients of SEEDS-based communications report delight at reception and experience keen disappointment on any days when no SEEDS contact is received.


This could not be simpler. Go to your printer, any make will do. Remove the top two sheets from the input tray. Then get two large foolscap envelopes. On the first envelope right the words 'CRITICAL ARCHIVE' and put to one side. Self address the second envelope and add a second class stamp. If you want to defer delivery for a few days add a first class stamp instead.

On the top of the first sheet write in bold capitals 'SEEDS'. Put to one side and take the second sheet. On the second sheet write the following:

'Never, Ever Forget

Computers should be used for, and only ever used for, those tasks which cannot be accomplished without them. Never computerise any data you don't need, especially data that you think it might be nice to know or for which you can imagine a possible future use.'

Place this sheet of paper in the Critical Archive envelope, seal and place where it can always be seen. Place the SEEDS headed sheet in the self-addressed envelope, seal and post.

Within a period of 2 to 6 days you will be the proud owner of your first SEEDS component. Additional components can be obtained from any stationers. Until the full product launch, retailers are still selling SEEDS under its prototype product designation:

'An A4 sheet of paper'

I hope dear reader you don't feel too cheated. Despite the execrable verbiage in which it is expressed, I believe every statement made about SEEDS above to be true and verifiable. If all else fails try the acronym game - if you haven't already.



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Comments by other Members

Account Closed at 08:36 on 11 December 2004  Report this post
Zettel - I can't imagine what inspired you to write this???!!! I started to read, then gave up as it appeared too technical, then scrolled to the bottom and understood!
Très zeitgeist

Zettel at 12:35 on 11 December 2004  Report this post

Bit of a quiet rant I guess: against our obsession that because computers do some things uniquely well they must do everything well: which they don't. They are remarkably inferior for many functions for which an A4 wins hands down. A blank sheet of paper encourages the mind to be active and open-ended: computer based data often does the reverse.

And we/I am raising a generation of young people for whom, unless it is virtual it isn't real. That's weird and philosophically at least a little disturbing.

Better change my name to 'crank'!

Well done for sticking there long enough to get the point. Writing-wise it is meant to be a parody.



Account Closed at 12:38 on 11 December 2004  Report this post
Z, I understand that it's a parody but I'd be interested to read your undisguised rant in journalistic form too!

Elsie at 15:04 on 11 December 2004  Report this post
Hi Zettel - must admit, I too, thought - Oh, what happened to Zettel's poetry - why's he doing this, and skipped to the end. Then I went back and re-read with the A4 in mind! Reminded me of a silly thing I wrote a while ago - which I'll now post to add to your theme. Els

Zettel at 16:13 on 11 December 2004  Report this post

Couldn't think of a way to disguise the outcome in traditional form and even though I accept that this is a bit off-putting at first, I put a few mildly 'amusing' acronyms in to try to encourage the reader on. The trouble is, I doubt whether I would read a straight piece on the merits of an A4 sheet of paper vs computer data as, until you look closely at it, the whole thing just seems arch. Maybe it still is, but it is still an effort to make a serious point in a 'left field' way. Reaction suggests it doesn't work. That's OK - can't win 'em all.

As for poetry I'm still posting poems; and I had to struggle with the shape of this as I like prose to flow as well. The trouble with parodying this kind of computer-ese is that not only do a frightening number of people talk it, but they think it means something. Maybe this is the wrong form in which to try to prick the pompous bubble of this stuff.

Thanks for taking the trouble folks. we sometimes learn more from the failures than the successes.



sue n at 22:17 on 12 December 2004  Report this post
I would like to boast that I twigged at TWAT.
Maybe you've made it a little long to sustain without readers cheating and going to the end. Maybe it should finish with the A4 paper and no explanation?

I enjoyed it.
Sue n

Eduige at 00:04 on 13 December 2004  Report this post

I'm not sure I completely understand everything, although I think I understand enough to know I'm a Data Input Modulation Built In Relevance Determination. Or maybe it's just that I'm trying to read technical language after midnight.

I'd really like to understand it since everyone else enjoyed it so much. Could someone please explain?

It does sound very impressive and technical and convincing.


Zettel at 01:44 on 13 December 2004  Report this post

I rather thought people would go to the end. My hope was that then they might examine my claim that everything wrapped up in verbiage was in fact true. As for the acronyms - you must forgive a sad, sad crossworder who really should get a life.


Nice one. If it 'sounds' impressive and technically convincing, then part of it was right: the real techno-babble [i}does sound impressive, that's what it's there for - but we are becoming mentally passive in our relation to computers. Silly example: Jeremy Clarkson (no genius he) remarked "why do I need to understand maths - I can just use a calculator" Seems he is as dumb as I thought.

So with some embarrassment (they seem dreadfully weak now) and to save you all the slog: the acronyms


OMG (Oh my God) did I really do this?

Shameless but red-faced


Richard Brown at 10:28 on 13 December 2004  Report this post
I cheated in that I skimmed the comments before reading the piece (note to self - must perhaps stop doing this?) and thus got to know of the parodic intent in advance but I still enjoyed the idea and its expression though I agree with Sue n that for most people a shorter version would be more acceptable (though I can see that deciding what to excise would be a tormenting process)


sue n at 22:23 on 13 December 2004  Report this post

Now his secret is out, we will all wait until Richard has has made the first comment.
Sue n

Zettel at 22:44 on 13 December 2004  Report this post
OK Guys - that's not fair on Richard.

So pre-emptive strike:

It's simply

Complex Re-iterative Aphasic Pomposity.


Crosswordism should be a notifiable disease.


(PS - took a while but we seem to be having a little fun with it now, which is nice.)

Zettel at 22:53 on 13 December 2004  Report this post



hsl at 10:51 on 15 December 2004  Report this post
Zettel - I'm afraid I can see an acronym a mile down the road so picked up the gist of this fairly quickly.I'm perhaps not quite so frazzled by the march of technology and its consequences but as a diverting article it did the trick.

Many years ago,I wrote an investment report substantially comprised of anagrams and acronyms,as much to provoke a response from the recipients as anything else.The subject matter may be a little arcane for this audience so I shan't repeat it here but the most interesting aspect of your work generally is the ability - and desire - to mix up the format as most people write in a fairly formulaic style.I recall that I used to write certain investment reports in verse,to amuse myself as much as anything,and,if I can locate the hard copy,I'll try to post them here.I hope that ten years on they still read true.


Zettel at 11:11 on 15 December 2004  Report this post

I'd like to read the above. I'm sure we would agree that most aspects of the business world would be much improved with a bit more sense of humour and certainly with greater clarity of expression in all its forms, not least writing. As for form: it's fun! I once had a board of Directors split down the middle on the merits of an exploratory Strategic Planning article I got one of my staff to write in the form of a Socratic Dialogue. As it was trying to explain the arcane mystery of international oil pricing, Lewis Carroll would have been more appropriate. But half the Directors thought it was "flippant". Just so.



SamMorris at 20:11 on 15 December 2004  Report this post
Zettel, I thought this was a very clever article, and very now. Humour is powerful way to make a strong point. Working in the IT industry for a few years I have seen quite a few next big things(TM) come and go. Most of them succeeded only in making life more complicated. So many people get wrapped up in the possibilities of new technologies that they fall over themselves to implement it. I just wish that they would take a step back for a second and ask - what's the worst thing that could happen if we overlooked this new technology. Sorry, didn't mean to have my own mini rant there. But reactions are a good thing?!

Could you make it a little more immediate if it was condensed a bit? Just a thought.


Zettel at 00:30 on 16 December 2004  Report this post
Thanks. It is very encouraging and conforting that someone from within the computer industry displays a healthy scepticism about what the misuse of computers can do. Everyone gets hung up on the 'Hollywood' paranoia of computers - taking over the world etc etc. Whereas, as most people working with them know, they are really just impressively powerful machines to process data. I am no technophobe nor indeed anti-science let's say, but both areas of activity lie at the centre of our culture and handle most of the things we most want to do. Yet most people who benefit from them do so in ignorance and therefore expect computers to perform magic and science to solve those eternal questions which are no more the exclusive province of science than any other branch of learning.

What may be lost in the discussion surrounding this little piece is that I believe one can seriously sustain the argument that underlies the jokey form. An A4 sheet of paper is for many applications simply far superior to a computer based solution. Organisational applications have not even begun to address the superiority of hybrid systems a pragmatic combination of computer and manual systems. Becasue of of the overwhelming monopolistic pressure of the newest and latest new system or version.

The definitive issue for computer savvy people is their view on AI. If this is construed as simply a technical computer question this involves a profound conceptual misunderstanding akin to that of scientists who seek to answer essentially philosophical problems by empirical description.

Sorry I'm drifting into philosophy but your discipline is our culture in many ways. I have yet to see anybody who addresses the fact that computer games are creating a new strategy of thought i.e. they make trial and error a pragmatic option. I was trained to think in linear logic where elegance of logical proof would always outdo 'guesswork'. You see the difference technically in the difference between the old fashioned 'hierarchical' databases where elegance of structure was essential, against massive relational databases which with a powerful search engine, which will outperform the earlier forms every time. A threat: but not the one everyone is preoccupied about.

Too much philosophy. Sorry, but for me is is both a profoundly interesting and disturbing subject.



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