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In the EMT world, "symptom" is something that a patient complains about,
while "sign" is something that the EMT sees.
My observation is that a symptom is something immediately obvious or
detectable that really indicates some other (and not always related)
problem. For this reason, good bug-reporting systems usually have a
place to record the "symptom" (or problem) and the "cause".
My favorite example of this is a woman who complains of persistent pain
in her left shoulder. The care-giver examines her, but does not see any
sign of trauma. The patient does not report any recent accidents,
injuries, or activities that involved the shoulder. Remembering that
pain can sometimes radiate, the care-giver asks (delicately) if the
woman could possibly be pregnant. The woman says that she is sexually
active and is not using contraceptives. The care-giver concludes that
the woman should be examined further for an ectopic pregnancy; they
often manifest as shoulder pain radiating from the abdomen.
Milan Davidovic wrote:
> When humans are sick, we can say they display
> *symptoms*. When machines are "sick", they display
> I'm reading some text about a device performing a
> self-test. As the device performs each step of the
> self test, the operator is supposed to watch for
> particular problems. For example, one of the steps is
> that the screen lights up completely. The "symptom" to
> watch for is dark spots or lines.
> Would you use the word "symptom" in this instance?
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printed documentation. Features include single source authoring, team authoring,
Web-based technology, and PDF output. http://www.DocToHelp.com/TechwrlList
Now shipping: Help & Manual 4 with RoboHelp(r) import! New editor,
full Unicode support. Create help files, web-based help and PDF in up
to 106 languages with Help & Manual: http://www.helpandmanual.com
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