Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A Quantum Leap

Today, I was reading a site about a new product called It sounds pretty cool. What it does is record every channel that's broadcast (at least, all broadcast channels in the UK) for a solid week. Why? So that if you forgot a show was on that you wanted to watch a couple of days ago, you could still tune it in.

In the description of, it says, "This represents a quantum leap in technology over existing video recorders or PVRs." Yes, it may be important, because I think that eventually ALL television will be watched on demand. I dream of the day when you can pay a monthly service fee to your media provider, punch a few buttons, and watch anything that has ever been broadcast.

But I gotta say, I loathe the phrase "quantum leap." It's a phrase borrowed from physics. In its native field, it represents a movement of electrons within an atom between states of energy. The literal definition is any movement from one discrete state (here) to another (there), with no "in between."

Why does it bother me so much? Because its meaning has been completely twisted into something that's not even vaguely related to its original meaning. Take the, for example. A real quantum leap would indicate either a subatomic distance so small that it couldn't be measured or something new that could have no half-way step in between. The first definition just plain doesn't make sense, and the fact that someone could have just as easily come out with a PVR that records a full three days of programming shoots down the latter definition.

Oh well, I guess it's just me being nitpicky. Whatever the case, Quantum Leap was still a hellova cool show...


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