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    Re: Altitudes, close to 90
    From: Bill B
    Date: 2004 Dec 2, 16:13 -0500

    "It seems to me that once seen it is simple, but putting the technique  into
     words is challenging."
    
    > I agree. I think of navigation manuals as early examples of  "technical
    > writing". In the most common modern manifestation of this  art, I think
    > we've allbeen subjected to truly awful computer manuals and,  with any
    > luck, to some really good ones --it all depends on the  author.
    >
    > I think you've hit the nail on the head, too, by pointing out that it's
    > easier to do once you've seen it, so maybe the trick is to describe
    > how it looks...
    
    Once again, I thank you Frank. A great explanation.  Think I have it now.
    
    I found your analogy to computer/software manuals spot on. Particularly
    those produced before technical writing was introduced into college
    curriculums.  For two decades a portion of my responsibilities included
    producing manuals for hardware and software designed for electrical
    engineers by Ph.D. and MA electrical engineers.  In general writing, the cry
    is "fog factor" and the rule of thumb was to write at a level four grades
    below the highest education level of the target audience.  At least at
    Purdue during my years there, about the last English course an engineering
    major saw was in his/her freshman year.  A challenge to communicate
    highly-technical concepts loaded with jargon at a ninth-grade level--before
    graphic software interfaces. Especially important as our company offered a
    money-back guarantee and free technical support.  If a user called in with
    anything other than a failure to read the manual pages pertinent to the
    problem, we had failed.
    
    In many of the books I have read and reread in the ten months since taking
    up cell nave, there are may examples of inconsistencies; and many of the
    diagrams are crudely produced, lacking even the basis of shading and
    perspective that might give the reader a clue as to the author's intent.
    
    For a true mouthful, read through Pub. No.229, Section C Special Techniques
    3. Interpolation near the Horizon. 4. Negative Altitudes, and 5.
    Interpolation near the Zenith.  Wow.
    
    I can empathize with the good souls sharing their knowledge in what must be
    close to a labor of love considering the potential sales volume in a given
    language.  Not a lot of money there to hire a professional illustrator or
    photographer.
    
    But wouldn't it be nice if every computer/software developer or book author
    gave a toll-free number for support?  With enough negative feedback at their
    expense, it would make sense for them to fix the "bug."
    
    Bill
    
    
    

       
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