(Re)configurable?

Subject: (Re)configurable?
From: "Geoff Hart" <geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000 15:32:58 -0500

Rahel Bailie reports that <<Our engineers have been defining these
two terms as follows: Configurable = The user can set the
parameters once. Reconfigurable = The user can set the
parameters numerous times.>>

It's nice that they're interested in linguistic precision and
consistency, but this would seem to me to be a distinction that will
mean nothing to any reader. "A foolish consistency is the
hobgoblin of engineers" (with apologies to Hobbes). I'd prefer to say
"you can configure this only once, during installation" versus "you
can reconfigure this whenever you want through the tools menu" or
whatever.

<<If configure = change, then reconfigure means re-change? If
configure = cycle, then reconfigure means recycle?>>

Neither. "Configure" means to give something a configuration,
which in turn means to establish or set its various parameters. By
extension, "reconfigure" means to change the configuration.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca (Pointe-Claire, Quebec)
"If you can't explain it to an 8-year-old, you don't understand it"--Albert Einstein




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