Weekly Classic Computer Trivia Question (20150105)

Rich Alderson RichA at LivingComputerMuseum.org
Tue Jan 6 13:40:40 CST 2015

From: js at cimmeri.com
Sent: Tuesday, January 06, 2015 9:03 AM

>> On 1/5/2015 11:27 PM, Noel Chiappa wrote:
>>>  From: Rich Alderson

>>>  Kanji are *LOGOgrams*, expressing *words*, not *ideas*.

>> Since this is a list about antique computers, not about the technical minutiae
>> of written languages, I elected to use the word that would be familiar to
>> non-specialists, i.e. 'ideogram' (with the common meaning, not the specialist
>> one).

>>>>  There is something called the 'iroha' ... It was used to teach writing

>>>  this poem was no longer used in schools

>> Which would be why I said it "was used to teach writing", not 'is used to
>> teach writing'.

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?

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?

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


Rich Alderson
Vintage Computing Sr. Systems Engineer
Living Computer Museum
2245 1st Avenue S
Seattle, WA 98134

mailto:RichA at LivingComputerMuseum.org


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