To share, or not to share?

Subject: To share, or not to share?
From: "Geoff Hart" <geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 16:04:12 -0500

Kevin McLauchlan is <<...looking for a word or a concept that
means something like "share" ... but isn't "share". I'm overusing
"shared" in my docs.>>

I imagine you're also overusing "the", "and", and "Microsoft" in your
documents too, but heck, what's a little overuse between friends? If
"share" really is the right word, you could either buy a good
thesaurus and practice the justly reviled art of "elegant variation", or
you could simply accept the fact that once you've got the right
word, you really don't need to change it. Even so:

<<PED-keys come in... red (to carry the "domain" that is shared
by your current token and others that you have designated...>>

I like to avoid "is" constructions, because they're passive and thus
weak. If you say "X and Y share", you may find the wording less
offensive. You can also use wordings such as "Y uses the
whatever defined by X". If you're talking about physical devices, you
could say "stored in X", "that X contains", etc.

<<The only way to make a token share a domain is to initialize it,
which erases any previous info the token contained -- including a
previous domain it might have carried/belonged-to.>>

Rather than talking about "sharing", you could instead talk about
initializing the token to use _an existing or new_ domain, whichever
the case may be. You no longer talk about sharing because that's
implicit.

<<I guess you'd say that if you chose that "Group PED-key"
option, then your black User key (and the PIN it contained) would
be "shared" among several tokens.>>

Or you could instead state that the black key defines the PIN that
all the other tokens will use.

<<I suppose I could use permutations of "in common", but that
gets awkward in a hurry.>>

Sure does. And after all, you wouldn't want to be accused of
commonism, especially if you hail from them southern 50 provinces
of Canada. <g> I don't think you need to worry about "in common"
if you work with some of the suggestions I've provided.

<<you can additionally specify that yet another secret is applied to
lock this token, and this secret is split, or shared among quantity
N green PED-keys.>>

Again, use the workaround that the secret defines whatever it
defines, and the others refer to (or use or work from or whatever)
that definition.

<<Technically, that M of N thing is called a secret-sharing
threshold scheme. (... and you cared? )>>

I might care, because these sorts of things fascinate me, but I
suspect your typical reader really doesn't care what it's technically
called. They just want to know what they have to do about it. Avoid
the technical and you'll probably eliminate many of your "shareds".

<<Did anybody actually read this far?>>

Nope. But you can't imagine how grateful I am that you shared all
this with me. <gdr>

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca (Pointe-Claire, Quebec)
"If you can't explain it to an 8-year-old, you don't understand it"--Albert Einstein




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