Wang 300 Calc

Tony Duell ard at
Tue Sep 11 15:19:52 CDT 2007

> >
> > Quite why I'd want illeterates to be connecting cables to my computer i=
> s
> > totally beyond me...
> I never can tell with you, Tony, whether you faking it and taking the
> mick, being deliberately obtuse to make some kind of point, or
> genuinely think in a very strange way.

I'm being deadly serious. If asomebody can't match up a 7 character word 
('printer') no matter what their native language is, then I don't want 
them anywhere near any of my computers.

> The point, as I have already spelled out abundantly clearly, is that
> someone may be perfectly literate and fluent in multiple languages and
> completely unfamiliar with English or even the Roman script.


I don't speak a word of Chinese. I can't read a single Chinese character. 
But if computer connectors were labelled in Chinese. I'll bet I could 
learn the necessary few chracters in a couple of days _at most_. 

> It is much simpler for everyone concerned /all over the world/ if you
> just match the symbol on the end of the cable with the one on the
> socket on the back of the computer.

But that's exactly the point. The icons are not stadnardised. I have to 
recognise that the symbol that the computer manufacturer uses is, say, a 
'prionter' Different manufacturers have different ideas of what symbol to 

OK, the user manual _should_ explain that. But you know as well as I do 
that manuals go astray. At least if the connectors are labelled with 
'words' of a human language, I have a chance to find a dictionary of said 
language, or somebody who speaks it, or...

You seem to be in favour of replacing a 'word' that a subset of the 
world's population understand naturally ,and which the rest have to 
learn, with an icon that nobody understands naturally and that therefore 
everyon has to learn. I can't see the benefit in doing that. It's the 
same sort of ridiculous idea that caused a bookshop I liked to have to 
close down because it couldn't provide wheelchair access. Apparently it's 
better that nobody can have access to said books than that a subset of 
the population can.

> Yes, the word is easier, *in a single country*. But the computer
> market is, and has been for many decades, an international one.

And in all other countries the foreign word and the icon _both_ have to 
be learnt. 

> Hint: never wonder why there was a Psion 1, 2, 3 and 5 but not a 4?
> Because "4" in Mandarin Chinese - a tonal language where a single
> syllable has from 5 to 9 totally different meanings depending on the
> tone of voice in which you sing it - Chinese is sung, not spoken - the
> word for "4" is the same as the word for "death". You can't indicate
> the tone in non-Chinese writing, so when you write 4, you write death.
> A machine called the Psion Death would not sell well, for obvious
> reasons. So, Psion skipped the entire number. Almost anyone doing
> business in China does the same.

This sounds like an urban legend to me. Like the one about the Chevvy (?) 
Nova not selling well in Mexico because 'No Va' means 'it doesn't go' 
[To go marginally on-topic, I once used that joke when I pulled most of a 
DG Nova 1200 out of a skip. SInce there were bits missing, including the 
lights-n-switches board, I said 'Nova -- It doesn't go']

Are you seriously telling me that version 4/model 4/etc of any product 
never sells in China????


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