Re: Passive entry

Subject: Re: Passive entry
From: DaveC <peninsula -at- covad -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 7 Jul 2003 16:19:27 -0700

At 12:28 AM +0900 7/8/03, Robert Kidd wrote:

Is anyone familiar with the term "Passive entry" to refer to the automatic unlocking of car doors

The technology gets its name from the use of a "passive resonator". Because this technology is being used for locking an entry door, the engineers have -- as happens too often -- confabulated the term "passive entry", which was pointed out by Jenny B. to be incorrect usage in this context.

At 11:46 AM -0400 7/7/03, John Posada wrote:
You may not like it, but it is an accepted term. Don't reinvent the wheel... that's not what you're doing this for, and you'll only confuse your readers.

It depends on your audience. I strongly disagree that the technology should be shared with the user (except maybe once, parenthetically, to satisfy the curious).

The term may be accepted in the engineering field, but users of the technology don't care. You will "confuse your readers" only if they are professionals in the engineering field and this term is common currency, and you change the terminology used.

It is common for engineering (departments) to insist that a certain terminology be used in end-user documentation. They (engineers) are comfortable with the termnology (it's their job to make the underlying technology *usable*); the *action* the user/owner of the product is performing does not depend a twit on knowing what technology underlies a particular product feature.

"Passive entry" is a classic example, although there are many. Whether the technology is pin-and-tumbler (old-fashioned key), plasma-enhanced pulsed laser hologram security (yet to be invented?), or passive-resonator technology, the user only needs to know:
1. How to use it
2. Cautions and warnings

Another example is electrostatic speakers. The curious audiophile may like knowing that this technology makes great sounding audio, but in the end, all he/she needs to know is:
1. Plug the speaker into an AC outlet
2. Plug your audio amplifier into the speaker
3. Play your favorite music
4. Don't play with water around the speakers (6000 volts are generated inside)

It is the job of a communications professional to evaluate the audience and to choose appropriate language "as simple as necessary, and no simpler" (to paraphrase Einstein, I think it was...).

If your audience is engineers, and your documentation discusses the technology, please disregard the above. :-)


My guess is that this is referring to a passive proximity card, like the badges some people carry for their place of employment where you only have to get close to the reader and the door will unlock.

Keri Morgret
currently editing installation manuals for proximity and magnetic stripe readers and can tell you more than you ever wanted to know about this technology (or at least point you in the right direction)


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Re: Passive entry: From: Keri Morgret

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