Re: FWD: Some Curious Writing Examples sent from a NEXTcontact at HP

Subject: Re: FWD: Some Curious Writing Examples sent from a NEXTcontact at HP
From: Ad absurdum per aspera <JTCHEW -at- LBL -dot- GOV>
Date: Mon, 8 Aug 1994 17:54:15 GMT

{Much funny stuff deleted}

> - Apple II DOS 3.2 Manual:
> What happened was this, your Apple II went on a fruitless, unending
> search for information on a blank diskette (on a clear disk you can
> seek forever).

The Apple II documentation made quite heavy use of the
rhetorical thema that the Greeks referred to as "hyuks."
Apple still has some adherents of the Henny Youngman approach
(Develop magazine in particular comes to mind), though it
seems to have been gradually winnowed out of their user docs.

> "The Way Things Really Work" [Henry Beard & Ron Barrett, Viking
> Penguin, 1993] - best described as a pastiche [of David MacAulay's
> numerous inside-story books].

Words cannot express how highly I recommend Tom Weller's _Science
Made Stupid_; I'd need cartoons as well, and I don't draw them
nearly as well as Weller. His _Culture Made Stupid_ is also a
goodie -- during a re-examination of our identity materials, I
showed the part on graphic design and logos to various folks
hereabouts and they laughed themselves into anoxia. The Library
of Congress <telnet> sez:

2. 87-3982: Weller, Tom. Culture made stupid / Boston : Houghton Mifflin,
1987. 72 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 28 cm.
LC CALL NUMBER: PN6231.C46 W45 1987
3. 84-12938: Weller, Tom. Science made stupid / Boston : Houghton
1985. 76 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.
LC CALL NUMBER: Q162 .W45 1985

> How Instructions For VCRs And Microwaves Are Written:

Count your blessings. I once had to set up a closed-circuit
TV camera whose manual hadn't been translated from the Japanese
at all. Fortunately, it was a simple device (power cord,
standard gozouta, lens with a focus ring) and hardly needed one.


Having been through the selection of an inappropriate corrugated
box for one of our products (by a packaging engineer, no less),
I can see the nonhumorous side of this one too. When the carton
fails Manufacturing Engineering's drop test (basically, insert
product, toss it on the floor a few times, and measure the smoke
when you plug it in) a few weeks before a ship date, even people
not directly involved with the fiasco start to sweat.

A "simple" cardboard box, along with the packing material inside,
has to meet dozens of internal and outside requirements: not
just product survivability, but also cost, appearance, simplicity
of "top assembly" on the production line, compatibility with your
shipping scheme, recyclability, any requirements the Department of
Transportation might impose for the mode and contents... There's
a lot more to that humble box than meets the eye.

"The pallid pimp of the dead-line/The enervate of the pen" -Robert Service

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