Round Peg in a Square Hole

A repository of reference material on a variety of subjects

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Hyphenation Carryover

Years ago, when I was on Mars Pathfinder, part of my job was to take mission flight rules (specifications for things that we were not allowed to do with the s/c) and code them up, so that the sequencing s/w could check to see if any of the commanding was violating these rules. Not all of them could be checked that way, since not all of the flight rules related to things that were commanded: e.g., if the restriction was "don't let this piece of hardware go below this temperature", there was no commanding that could directly violate that. (Obviously, if you turn a heater off, you might end up violating the FR, but turning the heater off, in and of itself, was not a violation.) Anyway, after suffering with poorly written, contradictory, or confusing rules, after spending time tracking people down and making them clarify this or that, I swore that SOMEDAY, *I* would be in charge of flight rules document on some project, and the rules would, by GOD, be written RIGHT! :-)

While that has not yet come to pass, it is interesting how this experience has affected me. I've recently started writing my first knitting patterns that might possibly be used by someone else, and I find myself going back again and again, clarifying things, making things more explicit, trying to figure out where things could be misinterpreted and re-writing so that any confusion is avoided.

It's funny; I've always known how my hobbies gave me insight and parallax on problems at work. It never occurred to me that the process might work in both directions.