1987: Coping with Technicalese

[Dear Mother,]

I’ve spent the afternoon coping with IBM technicalese in the form of new product announcements… Here’s the block of turgid prose for your enjoyment:


Allows IBM Personal System/2, attached to a Local Area Network to communicate with Asynchronous Host Computers, including the IBM PC-RT, other Asynchronous Devices, and transfer files with off NET connected IBM Personal System/2. IBM 3101, 3162, 3163, 3164 Asynchronous Terminals, other Asynchronous Terminals and IBM Personal Computers/System/2, communications adapter connected, can communicate with Asynchronous Hosts, other Asynchronous Devices, and IBM 7171s for Protocol Conversion for access to IBM Hosts. Local Area Network attached or Communication Adapter connected terminals can use the modem resource sharing capability of the Server to dial off-network to Asynchronous Devices, including Information Providers.

The product “highlighted” falls under the computer category of “Communications,” or computers talking to each other. Although for the layman they may be bewildering, it’s not the technical terms themselves that muddy this kind of writing, it’s the basics of writing itself: punctuation, word order, noun-modifier relationships, clause structure, coordination and subordination, etc. Although it’s not apparent here, the industry “literature” also commits egregious abuse of acronyms. One that comes to mind is “RAS,” for “Reliability, Availability and Serviceability.” How’s your RAS? One of the market channels is through VARS and VADS (Value Added Retailers, Value Added Dealers). And so on and so on. I have to fight the urge from time to time to do a heavy-handed parody of the phenomenon. It’s a pleasant way to waste some time. I’ll end here to get back to reading Product Announcements.

(c) 2018 JMN.

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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