Using Humor Judiciously

Subject: Using Humor Judiciously
From: William=E -dot- =Newkirk%Pubs%GenAv -dot- Mlb -at- RODES -dot- CCA -dot- ROCKWELL -dot- COM
Date: Wed, 22 May 1996 09:32:42 EDT

some places where humor seemed to work:

Signetics 555 and derivative application manual (with the little man
alternately announcing some design guidepost and then being taken down a
notch when an alternate configuration solved a problem - such as driving
inductive loads and the 50% duty cycle problem (the standard equations for
the standard timer circuit come up with impossible parts values)).

Sony's book on digital audio (forget the real title) that used cartoons to
show an "army" of data bits being shuffled around for preparation in use on a
CD...(addition of error detection/correction bits plus the checksums and

humor can also be used to check to see if the reviewers are paying attention.
a predecessor here had a procedure for cleaning a device. this procedure
required baking the parts after cleaning to remove the last traces of
solvent. in the procedure, he'd written "After cleaning, bake the movements
in an oven at 350 deg F for 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown".
None of the reviewers caught it, nor the editors - he'd had them fix up the
procedure before printing but kept the typesetter output page.

bill newkirk
rockwell avionics/collins
wenewkirk -at- rodes -dot- cca -dot- rockwell -dot- com

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