Re: Basic Voice ??s: OK for Software to "allow", "let", "enable",--- "pr ovide" and so forth?

Subject: Re: Basic Voice ??s: OK for Software to "allow", "let", "enable",--- "pr ovide" and so forth?
From: Chris <cud -at- telecable -dot- es>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 13 Feb 2003 09:57:18 +0100

I have a problem with computers, software, or functions (CSF) that allow or let me do anything. That construct implies there are things the CSF will not allow me to do. Untrue - I am a free agent restricted only by laws of man and nature. To say a CSF grants me permission to do something implies that it has power over me, and insults my humanity. The question is whether the CSF is *able* to do what *I want* it to do... If not, I'll find another tool. I am in control here.

Not only is the construct limiting, insulting, and formally incorrect, it also allows you to use unnecessarily baroque language thereby letting you write things with less precision. (Could you write with less precision if that particular construct didn't allow you to? I wonder...)

You can use the CSF to accomplish a task (perhaps), and you may even *want* to. And I suppose there are some tasks you can't perform without the prosthetics of a computer - stabilizing a stealth fighter in flight or visualizing the Mandelbroot set, for example. But in general we're not talking about that level of computing. Not only that, but I doubt the flight manual for a stealth fighter says things like, "The xyz feature set *allows* you to stabilize the aircraft." I suspect the statement is more direct - "The xyz feature set *stabilizes* the aircraft", or "The xyz command *plots* the Mandelbroot set."

In other words, either you can *use* a CSF to perform a task, or the CSF simply performs the task for you. The CSF most certainly doesn't grant you permission.

At least, in my overblown (not humble) opinion, that's what's wrong with the construct. (Would you believe I've had this argument before?)

Not sure I'm seeing what the problem is with saying that fubar "lets you
foul things up".

Chris Despopoulos, maker of CudSpan Freeware...
Plugins to Enhance FrameMaker & FrameMaker+SGML
cud -at- telecable -dot- es


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