Re: how do you say? 12 O' clock in a manual?

Subject: Re: how do you say? 12 O' clock in a manual?
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2001 10:54:22 -0800

Jo Francis Byrd wrote:
> OK, Bruce,
> Being afflicted with terminal which country do you reside?

Canada, actually. But some tourist places, especially in Victoria,
the capital of British Columbia, make a point of being more English
than English, and offer high tea to tourists.

I'm not sure who made teatime equivalent to 4 PM in the at command,
but I've always understood that that was the traditional time for
high tea in Victorian and Edwardian times.

And, just to turn the topic back to something vaguely relevant: many
Linux commands turn out to have localization built right into them.
For example, the ls command (equivalent to dir in DOS) uses both
--color and --colour.

I've also noticed that many manuals and books seem to have copied
and pasted directly from the man pages. In some cases, new books are
probably using text that was first written in the Seventies for
UNIX. It reminds me of what Stephen Jay Gould, the evolutionary
theorist and popular science writer, calls "fox terrier syndrome."
Gould notes that many biology textbooks still describe early horses
as the size of fox terriers, a comparison that has been copied ever
since the Twenties, when fox terriers were a popular breed, even
though it no longer carries much meaning to the average reader. In
other words, many writers have simply borrowed from earlier writers,
without stopping to consider the quality of the information.

I suspect that fox terrier syndrome is pandemic in tech writing. At
least, I've come across it often enough.

Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
Contributing Editor, Maximum Linux
604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com

"Her father came of tinker stock, baptized by flowing water,
Old Jack, he was disposed to roam and so his only daughter,
And me a lad of seventeen, I left my parent's home,
For Jenny Byrce, Jack the Rover's daughter."
-James Keelaghan, "Jenny Byrce"

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