orientation in description

Subject: orientation in description
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2010 12:10:02 -0400


We sell an encryption appliance that is meant to live in a standard equipment rack in a server room.

In the maintenance section, I had this sentence, which must have seemed ok when I originally wrote it, but which now seems fishy.

"In normal operation , each power supply (back panel right corner, as you face the rear of the appliance) shows a green LED, indicating proper function."

I'm sure it can be critiqued for other reasons (go ahead...) but I'm interested in how best to refer to the orientation and location of parts on a piece of equipment.

Is it "standard" to locate stuff (like rooms and features of a house, or parts of an appliance) by referring to the overall item (equipment, building, etc.) as though the reader is facing it front on? Or should it matter, as long as you specify the point-of-view in the current situation?

In this case, I'm referring to basically exterior orientation and location. This is not the kind of huge and/or intricate equipment where you need a 3D co-ordinate system to guide a mechanic/tech into the bowels of the beast. Just a couple of power supplies and a trio of fans that are externally accessible and are hot-swappable. And loud... :-)

Anyway, my current deadlines are not frantically critical, so apparently I'm allowing myself the luxury of second-guessing myself.


Kevin McLauchlan
Senior Technical Writer
SafeNet, Inc.

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