Re: SI Units

Subject: Re: SI Units
From: Win Day <winday -at- home -dot- com>
To: Cronista -at- aol -dot- com
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 07:10:30 -0400

At 09:14 PM 26/06/00 -0400, Cronista -at- aol -dot- com wrote:

Mr. Hutschenreuther:
Please be aware that there are still a few of us in the U.S. who know that we
are members of the CGPM, and were one of the signatories to the first "Treaty
of the Meter" in Paris in 1874, and to many of the international agreements
since then. I don't know how many countries are members now (I could easily
look it up if it were important), but the U.S. is still a member.
The problem you observed here is that in the last decade or so, we have a new
crop of technical writers, many of whom don't know the difference between an
Ohm and a Mho, let alone how to abbreviate Ampere. They depend on what they
call Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and spend most of their time formatting
documents. Some of them (as you noticed in one of the replies) haven't even
yet heard of the NASA disaster resulting from working with the wrong system
of units.

Oh, my goodness, whatever did I do to deserve this from you?

I am a chemical engineer by training. I worked for years for oil companies and for engineering/procurement/construction companies before I decided that freelancing as a tech writer was a lot more fun than doing detailed engineering design. I assure you that I know the difference between an Ohm and a Mho (even though electrical engineering is not my field).

And I add a hell of a lot more value to my clients' deliverables that formatting! That's why I've been successfully freelancing for so long.

However, I do not live in the US. I live in Canada. And while news clips about NASA disasters might be on your front page, they're not necessarily on mine.

Space exploration is not one of my particular areas of interest. Wanna know the latest on offshore drilling techniques, or how to design a flare and relief system for a refinery? I'm your woman. But Mars landers? Nope.

Nevertheless, there are still several of us who are familiar with SI units
and can work with them easily. We have obvious access to the Internet and can
look up terms like "technical abbreviations" and fill our screens with
answers. But not all Technical Writers will take the trouble (even using a
spell-checker is an alien experience). Instead, they will ask their questions
here, an embarrassment to many of us.
I just don't want you to think that all of the Technical Writers here are as
"innocent" as the ones you addressed in your message.
Charles Jay
Phoenix Arizona

Nor are the rest of us as incompetent as you would like to think. Some of us just have different specialties and areas of interest. And some of us live in different parts of the world.


Win Day
Technical Writer
mailto:winday -at- wordsplus -dot- net

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