lock-in

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lock-in

[′läk ‚in]
(electronics)
Shifting and automatic holding of one or both of the frequencies of two oscillating systems which are coupled together, so that the two frequencies have the ratio of two integral numbers.

lock-in

(standard)
When an existing standard becomes almost impossible to supersede because of the cost or logistical difficulties involved in convincing all its users to switch something different and, typically, incompatible.

The common implication is that the existing standard is notably inferior to other comparable standards developed before or since.

Things which have been accused of benefiting from lock-in in the absence of being truly worthwhile include: the QWERTY keyboard; any well-known operating system or programming language you don't like (e.g., see "Unix conspiracy"); every product ever made by Microsoft Corporation; and most currently deployed formats for transmitting or storing data of any kind (especially the Internet Protocol, 7-bit (or even 8-bit) character sets, analog video or audio broadcast formats and nearly any file format).

Because of network effects outside of just computer networks, Real World examples of lock-in include the current spelling conventions for writing English (or French, Japanese, Hebrew, Arabic, etc.); the design of American money; the imperial (feet, inches, ounces, etc.) system of measurement; and the various and anachronistic aspects of the internal organisation of any government (e.g., the American Electoral College).
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References in periodicals archive ?
The decision to take away its licence came after police claimed the pub had a 10-person lock-in which ended in violence and that staff deliberately moved CCTV cameras in order to cover it up.
HUNDREDS of excited students queued outside the Kingsgate shopping centre last night for a lock-in with a difference.
They were let in by Mr Smith, who was working as a DJ during the lock-in, but were later told to leave following an argument at the bar.
We at Dell support numerous platforms and we do not believe in vendor lock-ins.
Slick transitions through everything from the value of pub lock-ins to the frustrations of life as a centaur, the routine resonated with an essentially social, human element.
Materials choice flexibility--no lock-ins to machines and materials
Upon the publication of the sustainability plan, the 75,000 health workers in the region began a campaign, which began on November 2 with a series of lock-ins, and has so far extended to 20 hospitals in the region.
With no pre-defined open standards, virtualisation can become the mother of all lock-ins.
Asda, which has historically been the cheapest supermarket fuel operator but doesn't offer in-store money-off deals, responded dismissively that it would "leave the tricks, gimmicks and lock-ins to others and keep delivering the lowest fuel prices".
A MERSEYSIDE pub escaped closure despite a string of illegal lock-ins and fights.