RE: Pet Peeves

Subject: RE: Pet Peeves
From: "Jonathan West" <jwest -at- mvps -dot- org>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 16 Mar 2007 13:36:36 -0000

> With IDE disk drives, each connector on the motherboard can
> communicate with
> two IDE drives. All IDE drives (Integrated Drive Electronics) contain a
> drive controller. In order to use two drives attached to a single
> connector
> with a ribbon bus cable, only one drive controller can be used.
> Each drive
> has jumpers that can be used to determine if it is a master (drive
> controller enabled) or slave (subordinate to the drive with the
> controller
> enabled). So yes, master/slave is a very accurate metaphor.

All perfectly true. But the means by which the master drive controls things
is a matter of supreme indifference to the user who is trying to install the
drive into a PC. All the user needs to know is that there are different
jumper settings depending on whether the drive is

a) to be attached alone to a new drive cable
b) to be attached as a second drive to a cable which already has a drive on
c) to be attached to a new cable with another drive subsequently attached to
the same cable

The words "Primary" and "Secondary" would quite sufficient for the purpose
of describing the circumstances under which the different jumper settings
are used.

What we have here is the use of a terminology (master/slave) which is
appropriate to describe the operation and design of the drive system, but
not strictly necessary for documenting its installation in a PC.

This is not primarily a matter of avoiding potentially offensive terms
(though if unnecessary offense can be avoided, so much the better), but
rather of critically examining the terms used in the course of designing a
product and seeing whether they are also the best terms for describing how
to use it. Sometimes they are not.

Jonathan West


Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include single source authoring, team authoring,
Web-based technology, and PDF output.

Now shipping: Help &amp; 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 &amp; Manual:

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.


Re: Pet Peeves: From: Mike Starr

Previous by Author: RE: Geoff Lane's "arrogant PC bunch"
Next by Author: Re: Yahoo Groups e-mail gone crazy?
Previous by Thread: RE: Pet Peeves
Next by Thread: RE: Pet Peeves

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads