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Rather than use the terms you mention, I would spell out the details,
as you do in your second paragraph. The terms you mention might be
considered a type of slang by some. Specifying the details makes your
paragraph a bit longer, but much clearer.
Saying "crash" upsets a customer more than "the system stops
responding to keyboard and mouse actions" and gives less information.
I tend to describe that kind of computer behavior in three contexts:
1) Internal memos to engineering, where they want details.
Those memos are the only place that the George Carlin
words appear in my official writing. And rarely there - I have
a large vocabulary when I'm upset, and the infamous Seven
Words just don't hack it.
2) Technical notes that we send with bug fixes. In those cases,
describing the system behavior in very specific terms avoids
making the problem sound worse than it is, and helps the
customer solve it or make the decision to install the fix.
3) Describing situations involving third-party software or hardware.
A specific description, besides helping the reader, keeps the
"Crudco blurfl drivers can crash your system."
gives Crudco's lawyers room to argue, while
"We have observed cases where the system has stopped
responding to the keyboard when using Crudco blurfl drivers."
From: Michael Collier[SMTP:mci -at- LUBRIZOL -dot- COM]
Sent: Monday, November 13, 1995 5:28 PM
To: Multiple recipients of list TEC
Subject: Lock, Freeze, Hang, Crash?
I don't mean to start your day with such violent imagery, but I was
wondering if there are any generally accepted meanings for, and specific
problems associated with, the subject terms when applied to dysfunctional
PCs. (Lock, Freeze, Hang, Crash).
For example, in a situation where (1) a dialog box fails to disappear
an option is selected, and (2) the pointing device can still be moved
the screen but (3) none of the dialog commands are executed, causing the
user to (4) restart the computer for it to operate, which of the above
apply? Also, what would be a more technical term to describe this
other than something profane?
Do one, any, or none of the subject terms apply to a situation the same
above, excepting that the pointing device cannot be moved at all?
Any specific insights into the different conditions users attempt to
describe with each term, and their more technical non-profane equivalent,
any, would be appreciated.