Weekly Classic Computer Trivia Question (20150105)
js at cimmeri.com
js at cimmeri.com
Tue Jan 6 17:24:51 CST 2015
On 1/6/2015 2:40 PM, Rich Alderson wrote:
> NB: I have moved js's top-posted
> comment to its correct place in the
>> Noel, those overly concerned with semantics will *always* jump at the chance
>> to demonstrate their superior knowledge. Their knowledge is indeed superior,
>> but their inate need to demonstrate it is just as great.
> Let me make an analogy that you will perhaps understand.
> Were Noel and I writing on a linguistics mailing list (say LINGUIST or ArcLing)
> and in a post I referred to a 2716 as a microprocessor, would Noel be "overly
> concerned with semantics" if he corrected me?
There's a subtle difference here,
though. The difference is that I (at
least) understood what Noel was saying
in his context, with almost zero
knowledge of Japanese and *without*
further elaboration, whereas I'm not
sure someone with zero knowledge of
computers would know what a "2716" even
referred to, moreso in comparison to a
I hear these same kinds of mistakes
resulting from very loose (and improper)
use of language all the time, especially
in movies when someone with no knowledge
of computers has written the script, and
the script happens to refer to some
technical aspect of computers. They
almost always get the lingo wrong, but I
doubt that the audience ever notices.
The improper language works on the
audience because the audience is just as
clueless as the writer was.
Same holds here. Because I'm clueless
on Japanese, Noel's language worked for
me, despite not being 100% accurate.
So, in your example, if both parties are
clueless re 2716 eproms and
microprocessors, the language might
*still* work for them... because in
their context, accuracy is not
inherently important to the message.
> And if I stated to a non-computer expert audience that germanium transistors
> were used to build computers, might Noel be forgiven for noting that that was
> in the 1960s, to give them an idea of time scale?
Different type of example, and here, I
concur with you 100%.
> I've spent 45+ years studying and working with computers. I've also spent 45+
> years in linguistics, studying and working with languages and language. Rather
> than pandering to the misinformed by misusing terminology from either field, I
> use the correct terminologies in both and expect the same from others, and if
> there is a lapse somewhere, I expect it to be corrected. You will have seen me
> thanking others for correcting my own errors, as well, rather than defending
To each his own, and you are certainly
entitled to it. I just happen to be in
perhaps the minority that finds
tangential or off-subject elaborations
to be tiresome.
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