Questions related to the use of technical language.

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8answers
3k views

How to choose between British and American English for technical documents

I'm not a native English speaker. I'm Italian and I'm doing my thesis in the Netherlands. I have to write technical documents for non-native English speakers, so I didn't receive any advice for ...
19
votes
1answer
555 views

Does this device to restrict access to roads have a generic name?

I'm sure we've all seen these devices which can "lock" and "unlock" vehicle entry and exit to an alley / road /etc. They consist of one or several hefty steel or concrete "pillars" less than a metre ...
3
votes
2answers
136 views

Reciprocal or converse definitions

I am writing an article where I need to describe an equation like the one below, in reference to two mathematical objects, A and B, that I have already defined in the text. f = #merge errors + ...
2
votes
2answers
381 views

Noun for for u-shaped bend on electrical component's pin (wire) to aid in placement (Beading / Ribbing / Crimp)?

I'm trying to find the correct noun for a u-shaped bend in an electrical component's pin. Is there a generic technical term that may usually refer to a deformation to reinforce e.g. an (angle) bracket ...
2
votes
3answers
783 views

How to denote a larger distance

Suppose I have some measurement with interferometer number 1, let's call the result A, and another measurement with interferometer number 2, let's call that one B. Suppose that always A>B (in some ...
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votes
8answers
11k views

Is it proper to use the word “bandwidth” as it relates to time allotment?

I'm a web developer and I've often heard other technical and developer types say: Sorry, I don't have the bandwidth to take on your project at this time. I started using the term myself and ...
2
votes
3answers
728 views

Term for buzzing or hissing sound often created by vibration

Specifically, I am referring to the hissing, buzzing, S-like, or fuzzy sound that is created when electronic speakers play sounds or music near their volume or frequency limits. I recall having ...
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votes
5answers
12k views

“Must Not” or “May Not” - which is the most correct

I work in the IT industry and often read software and standards specifications that start with a section with definitions for certain words used in the document. Recently I came across the following ...
2
votes
5answers
5k views

Replacement for ‘at the example of ’

I’m currently searching for the title of my research thesis and I can’t find a good phrase. I did a “Systematic Analysis of fruit growth” in a generic way and additionally applied the analysis to ...
2
votes
6answers
808 views

Is 'low speed' finally proving its merit?

Technically, you should expect the term low speed, not slow speed (which is obviously illogical). However, it seems the two phrases co-existed as long as one can look back: with low speed fighting ...
3
votes
1answer
197 views

Isn't Twitter's error message incorrect? [closed]

One of Twitter's error messages reads: Something is technically wrong. Of course I understand what they mean, but am I wrong to interpret this as "strictly speaking, there is something wrong" ...
4
votes
4answers
722 views

Synonyms for multiplexing and demultiplexing

I have developed a software mechanism which operates on a certain kind of software entities which are called interfaces. If you want technical details about the mechanism you can read this post on ...
2
votes
3answers
151 views

Is the meaning of “support” in “<product X> supports <feature Y>” commonly understood?

There are numerous examples of the verb support meaning "to be capable of": IE9 supports HTML5. The database doesn’t support transactions. The GPS navigator supports spoken voice directions. I ...
5
votes
3answers
459 views

Word for “letter or letter-like character”?

Is there a word for a "letter or letter-like character" in a writing system? With that I mean a grapheme that is not a number, punctuation, special symbol or space, but a letter (alphabet), ...
2
votes
1answer
217 views

What is the name for the class of computer programs that act as a front end for a database? [closed]

If you are writing a computer program that manages a large database of clients, like a rolodex, or a program that stores medical records for patients. What is that "class" of program called. The ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Dissecting an English sentence using a pattern?

I am trying to make a script that can dissect an English sentence. Problem is, I have no idea how to dissect an English when the words are not familiar. I know what the nouns, verbs, etc are, because ...
6
votes
3answers
783 views

Is the proper phrasing “SMS” or “SMS Message”?

I know that "SMS" stands for "Short Messaging Service." But, The term SMS is used as a synonym for all types of short text messaging as well as the user activity itself in many parts of the ...
3
votes
4answers
608 views

“Iterate” and “iteration” as nouns

What are the differences between iterate and iteration as nouns? I don't quite understand the definition of iterate as noun: A quantity arrived at by iteration For example, in computer ...
4
votes
2answers
159 views

Blockchain or block chain? Double-spend or doublespend?

On the Bitcoin StackExchange site we have a discussion about a few words that you probably won't find in a dictionary right now but that are technical terms used in Bitcoin or cryptocurrency in ...
6
votes
1answer
11k views

“Production” vs. “manufacturing”

What are the connotations of production and manufacturing? In what situation would you prefer one over the other?
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Blood - Bloods - pluralisation

Why is it that the plural of 'blood' is 'blood' in normal usage but 'bloods' (e.g. 'I'll be taking some bloods') is acceptable in a medical context? Are there any words with similar pluralisation ...
50
votes
9answers
2k views

Is the term 'String' too jargony to use in a user interface?

Having worked as a software developer for a long time, I'm out of touch sometimes with whether a word would be considered jargon. I am adding something to a user interface where a name is given, and ...
13
votes
2answers
422 views

What is the technical term for the area within a fort?

I would like to know what is the name of the area within a trace italienne fortification, i.e. item 38 in the image here below (which unfortunately was omitted in Wikipedia):
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votes
4answers
3k views

How to pronounce “720p” and “1080p”

How do you pronounce 720p and 1080p? Because I don't live in a country that uses English, I haven't heard it yet. I guess it doesn't have a rule. seven hundred twenty p seven twenty p seventy two ...
2
votes
3answers
6k views

“On which” or “upon which”

Today, I am writing technical documentation that instructs the user how to install software to a server. I encountered the following sentence and am unsure which is correct: When installing to a ...
1
vote
2answers
454 views

A data compromise

I know that security people use the verb "to compromise" with the meaning of "to break", for example in "the integrity of the account has been compromised". But is it okay to also use the noun ...
3
votes
2answers
436 views

Correct version of “Space Bar”

Is it acceptable to spell it "spacebar" or must the word be spelled with a space in it? I'm using it to refer to a keyboard shortcut in my application's documentation. Further, should it be ...
7
votes
2answers
294 views

Is the computer-related term “character” understood by the general population?

The following kind message is common in programming: Your password must be at least six characters long and include at least one letter and one number Would an average person understand what ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Differences between “methods”, “methodologies” and “paradigms”

I'm writing some internal documentation, which I cannot share, in which I outline several ways to accomplish a task. For example, updating software may be accomplished by: Send a list of what the ...
5
votes
2answers
806 views

Pronunciation of GUI in British English

I've heard a lot of Americans pronounce abbreviations like GUI as goo-ey. Is this the same with British English, or is it more common to spell out the word, like gee-you-eye?
16
votes
4answers
14k views

Why is the term “depressed” often used to describe a button which is pressed?

In several books that mention GUI, keyboard, or mouse buttons (e.g. the book Programming Windows by Charles Petzold), the authors refer to the state of a pressed button as depressed. Why is this term ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a term for a flaw in logic?

I write code for a living and I'm trying to find the right word for a flaw in logic. "Error" seems too vague, I'm looking specifically for a word that describes a flaw in logic. Addendum 1: This ...
5
votes
3answers
521 views

What is an “Open loop”?

In "Getting Things Done", David Allen refers to "Open Loops", meaning things that are incomplete. Q: What past reference to an "Open loop" is he alluding to? Is that phrase "Open Loop" something ...
1
vote
1answer
366 views

History of “System” in English language

When was the word "system" used for the first time in English? What was the usage of the word in that time? (in English) Does it have special meaning in Music? If yes, is the word widely used by ...
13
votes
5answers
11k views

What is antonym of “update”?

The antonym of "upgrade" is "downgrade", quite broadly used. What is the antonym of "update"? Update: Though, I hoped for something like "un-update" because reverting or uninstalling updates are ...
1
vote
1answer
767 views

A Good Resource (Book, …) For Literary Techniques/Devices? [closed]

What's a good book (Or resource) on Literary Techniques/Devices in English Literature?
3
votes
2answers
274 views

Jig or template to hold a workpiece

Technical English for a foreigner - please correct and rephrase if you can come up with better alternatives. A machine in manufacturing usually is fed material or a workpiece to be processed. ...
2
votes
4answers
3k views

If prepend is not part of English, why is there no postpend or subpend? And who introduces them? [closed]

I wanted to ask it already for some time but was in doubt until I've read the comment by Stan Rogers to this answer: In the case of prepend, we have created an artificial term that is ...
5
votes
1answer
470 views

Capitalization of “Assembly Language”

This Wikipedia article does not capitalize "assembly language," for understandable reasons. It uses it as an indefinite article, i.e. "an assembly language." But how should it be written when using ...
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vote
7answers
1k views

Is technical copywriting jargon or style?

I became confused by comments to my answer insisting that Technical writing is jargon using incorrect English words. I also looked through definitions of "prepend" in internet, all with inserted ...
2
votes
4answers
676 views

What is the shortest term to refer to people whose mother tongue is English?

What is the shortest term to refer to representatives of peoples and cultures whose mother tongue is English? Mothertonguers? Update: Can't I call them joe?
7
votes
7answers
7k views

Why “line of business” applications?

In software, why do we talk about line-of-business applications (sometimes abbreviated to LOB)? Why not just business applications? So it's useful to distinguish between general software (like email ...
-1
votes
3answers
244 views

Can I call me Anti-Anti-SpamBot or how?

Will it be comprehensible to take a nickname calling me Anti-Anti-SpamBot to convey the idea that communication on internet (like commenting in blogs, registration and posting in forums, etc.) became ...
6
votes
5answers
4k views

When referring to a previously sent text, would you say 'I text you about that' or 'I texted you about that'?

I realize texted is not a word, but text doesn't seem appropriate in the above sentence. What would make more sense?
3
votes
2answers
969 views

What do you call who writes comments? Commenter or commentator?

What should I call a person writing/adding comments (by pressing "add comment" link)? Commenter or commentator? From a deleted answer, I understand that there are commentators (like those ...
11
votes
3answers
5k views

Why “motherboard” is used to refer to main board of computer

Why is motherboard used to refer to the main board of a computer? What is the relationship with the word mother here?
7
votes
1answer
1k views

When should I use “see” vs. “refer”?

I have this question on using see and refer in technical documentation especially for cross-references information. I use see when mentioning another section in the same document, for example, for ...
1
vote
2answers
464 views

Quote of some advanced text? [closed]

I am trying to make a video and in it I need a piece of advanced text. You should get the feeling that this text is just advanced for the sake of being advanced, not for any practical reason, and ...
42
votes
7answers
4k views

Is there a difference between “disc” and “disk” for naming digital storage media?

I thought that a disc was a disc, and it is sometimes spelled disk. I now have got an indication that those two are not the same thing. In this answer on Graphic DesignBeta, I wrote floppy disc in ...
3
votes
5answers
739 views

What’s the etymology of the word “unstable”, in the context of software?

Approximately when in the history of computing did unstable come to be commonly used to refer to computer software? Can this time in history be linked to the release of a certain product (no jokes ...