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Sun 13 Jan 2008 04:00 AM

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Secret CIO

Secret CIO struggles to cope with the brave new world of jogging accessories and blamestorming.

New year, new me - well, that's the theory, anyway. At the urging of She-who-must-be-obeyed, I've given up several of my bad habits, and am trying to cultivate some good ones.

For instance, I now have a very fine set of jogging equipment - expensive trainers (courtesy of the Brat, natch), a running top, and colour-co-ordinated wrist and head bands.

Then there's the other accessories - the ankle weights, to increase resistance, the pedometer, the MP3 player with driving dance music pre-loaded, the contoured drinking bottle suitable for isotonic liquids (whatever they are), and the reflective arm bands, to stop me getting run over if I'm jogging in the dark (no comment). While the stated aim of all of this paraphernalia is to make jogging a more efficient and pleasurable (ha!) experience, I've actually worked out the true purpose of my new accessories. This epiphany came to me shortly after I put it all on for the first time, looked in the mirror - and nearly fainted.

It seems that most of the exercise will actually be generated not by a gentle jog, but by the frantic dash trying to get away from the crowds of jeering, laughing bystanders. While this may make for a more intensive cardio-vascular workout, I have a feeling it may do irreparable damage to my self-esteem.

Frankly, though, I was amazed at the number of accessories that an apparently simple activity such as jogging could spawn. Before my re-education, I was blithely of the opinion that the essentials were limited to a decent pair of running shoes, some lightweight clothing and something to listen to, to help keep one's mind of the agony developing throughout one's body. Apparently not.

As above, so below, as the man once said - and what holds for jogging (and seemingly every other sport or physical activity) now holds for modern business and IT. But where exercise fanatics have physical accoutrements - such as sweat bands and space-age trainers - business, and especially technology, types have acronyms, buzzwords and (ugh) ‘paradigms'.

Late last year Merriam Webster, that august keeper of American language - such as it is - identified ‘blamestorm' as one of its words of the year (along with ‘apathetic', ‘hypocrite' and - tellingly - ‘charlatan'). Blamestorming is the act of sitting around figuring out how and to whom to apportion blame - and is apparently the latest thing in Stateside boardrooms.

I've now blessedly lost track of these neologisms, but this doesn't stop them continuing to mount up. What is more worrying is how seriously some in the business community take these meaningless phrases - as with jogging, it's not real business any more unless you're blogging on your wiki (or is it the other way around?)

Well, I've had enough. Not only have I discarded the vast majority of my appalling jogging accessories, I've also banned the use of any word coined after 1996 (acronyms will be reviewed case by case - I'm not a monster). I've yet to think up a penalty - but I have an old Van Der Graff generator lying around somewhere that might come in handy when dealing with infractions by the staff.

There will be zero tolerance on this - to paraphrase someone else, when I hear the word ‘blamestorm' I reach for my electric cattle prod.

Anyway, I must be off now - I've got to google a few things and do some facebooking. Oh, no, wait...

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