Re: To Dialog or Not To Dialog

Subject: Re: To Dialog or Not To Dialog
From: John Posada <jposada -at- NOTES -dot- CC -dot- BELLCORE -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 5 Apr 1996 15:11:31 -0500

At 02:33 PM 4/3/96 MST, you wrote:
>I bet we all know a few people who still refer to the hard disk
>as "memory." I know several, and some are computer
>professionals {{shudder}}. It's a clear case of being taught
>the incorrect term--probably for simplicity's sake--in the

But it is memory.


Ah...but it's not. It's storage. When the computer reads the data, then it's
in memory. Just because it's magnetic storage doesn't mean it's in memory.
The computer can't do anything with it while it's on the hard disk and if the
storage is removable media, then it knows nothing about it (assuming standard
data processing conventions). It doesn't "remember" it. It's like you having
information in a box. You own it, but you can't use it until you read it --
place it into memory (your own).

It may seem like splitting hairs, but it has major significance.

End Reply--------------------

If you're trying to communicate something about RAM, you should use RAM, not
memory. For example, "The TSR stays dormant in RAM until you hit Alt+A to
make it active."

Similarly for hard drive.

But if it doesn't matter where the storage location is, what's wrong with
memory? For example, "The information is stored in memory for use later on."
Here, I'm trying to communicate that the information is retained, and it
doesn't matter to the reader which storage location is used.


It always matters. The line above about "... in stored in memory for use later
on" has two VAST different meanings based on where it is. There is nothing the
same about either version.

End reply ---------------

John Posada
Technical Writer
Bell Communications Research, Piscataway, NJ
(908) 699-5839 (W)
jposada -at- notes -dot- cc -dot- bellcore -dot- com (W)

"Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things"
- Vice President Dan Quayle 11/30/1988
I don't speak for my employer and they return the favor

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