About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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Encounters with readers are bracing. They remind us that nobody cares how hard we work, what obstacles we face, how good our intentions are. They don't see that, and they don't want to. They see the product. When the product is defective in some way, they conclude that we are dim-witted, lazy, incompetent or all three.

John McIntyre



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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 6/22/2018

Totals
Posts - 2503
Comments - 2574
Hits - 2,057,505

Averages
Entries/day - 0.46
Comments/entry - 1.03
Hits/day - 376

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 8:41 PM Pacific


  11:53 AM

I'm on hiatus at the moment (more on that next week), but I did want to break radio silence briefly to note a couple of editorial things that I've run across recently.

The first is a variation on the common confusion between rein and reign. For example, people often write reign in when they mean rein in.[1] However, I've never personally seen that confusion extend to a context where it's this clear that we mean the straps you use on horses. This is from a Netflix capsule summary:


Maybe I just haven't been paying attention.

And a second one is just a somewhat curious use of the expression "+/-". This is familiar to me to suggest numerical tolerances. So I don't quite get the motivation for using it in this sentence from a running website:
Avoid running during the hottest part of the day. Listen to your body and stop exercising, find a shaded, cool area, and rehydrate (+/- seek medical attention) if you experience lightheadedness.
If I were writing this out, I'd write something like "and if necessary ...", but I've never seen +/- used to mean that. Do they mean and/or? If so, is +/- shorthand for that?


[1] Tho I think that this particular confusion is understandable, since to my mind reign in could be something that constitutions do to chief executives.

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