Re: on the fly

Subject: Re: on the fly
From: "Parks, Beverly" <ParksB -at- EMH1 -dot- HQISEC -dot- ARMY -dot- MIL>
Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 09:00:07 -0700

Kris (and several others previously) wrote:
>"On the fly" = "dynamically" much of the time. Other possibilities are
>"real-time," "automatically," etc.
A Friday morning ramble follows. (I'm taking tomorrow off, so today is
my Friday).

First, my disclaimer 8-) --I have only a small, electronic dictionary
at my disposal right now.

None of the definitions given for "dynamic" apply to what I think of
when I hear "on the fly". (This dictionary doesn't list "on the fly".)
Dynamic has to do with energy, force, and motion. There is nothing in
the definition that matches the "nowness" of on the fly.

Even "automatically" does not implicitly mean that something happens

"Real time" is the closest, but it is computer jargon. For a general-use
word, my original suggestion of "concurrently" -- which means "happening
at the same time" -- comes closer to the meaning of "on the fly".
Although, technically, that's not quite right either because it can't be
concurrent if you have to complete a trigger action first.

Another possibility is that the concept of "now" is not really what is
needed. Take 4-wheel drive vehicles, for instance. On-the-fly 4WD simply
means that you don't have to stop what you are doing (driving) in order
to engage 4WD. Old 4WD systems required you to stop the vehicle, get
out, and manually lock the hubs. So, in this sense, "automatically" may
be the closer word.

In any case, I think automatically is a better choice than dynamically
to describe something that happens on the fly.

Bev Parks
parksb -at- emh1 -dot- hqisec -dot- army -dot- mil
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