William, I agree entirely about the need for accuracy. But you are describing primarily engineering, not blogging. I too, have written tech manuals, articles, brochures, and you name it; in fact I did so for several years before going into technical journalism. And while doing so, I learned how guilty the tech industry as a whole has been of using many different terms to mean the same thing, especially with brand new technologies that are still being defined and described. Or using the same acronym to mean many different things. Or just plain silly acronyms that quickly lose any useful context (remember LSI and VLSI?). Coming from a science background, I found this pretty annoying. But one learns to adapt.
I got it right away. (But I'm an old dog.) The term digital camera became the ubiquitous term a couple of decades ago to distinguish cameras with ccd backs from film cameras. Of course at the time, we never called film cameras "film" or "analog" cameras, just cameras.
But to a younger person, who grew up in the culture of digital everything, it might seem perfectly normal, since analog is the natural complement to digital in many areas of electronics, to use the term analog as an analog for the opposite of digital, would be quite normal. It is analogous after all.
In my engineering career I have written a large number of technical proposals, machine descriptions, machine manuals, and sales letters, which define exactly what a machine will do, what it will not do, and how fast it will do it. The financial health of my employers has been dependant upon those documents having only one possible interpretation. The result is that I do tend to be quite picky about what words are used to imply, and what they mean. That is my background, and it is not that I am attempting to give anybody a "hard time" about meanings and semantics, but rather that it is first nature with me to want descriptions to be accurate.
Sometimes that accuracy can be quite boring, as when I wrote a three page description of a "Zippo" brand of cigarette lighter for one technical writing class. The instructor said that it would be quite possible to build a working version just from the description. Others said that it was quite boring. Oh Well.
Hmm...linguists would argue that definition is a tricky business and despite the proclivities of some, language needs a certain amount of fluidity for effective communication. There is a time-honored practice of stipulative difinition, wherein the word used is tied to a specific context. This is not sloppy; it evinces a sophisticated grasp of mulitple abstract levels of reference.
William, we are clearly disagreeing about the use of terminology, not what it means. The two are separate but related issues. "Analog camera" means different things in different contexts. In this context, it was completely appropriate. The problem with a lot of tech terminology in general is exactly that: there are no absolutes. That's something that technology journalists have known for decades, and that's why different publications serving different industries have kept their own "style guides."
OK, Ann, It was indeed about definitions. It is frustrating to find that lazy journalists, amongst others, are promoting the use of incorrect terms for what the meaning is that they attempt to convey. The end effect is to remove any specific meaning from a word or expression, which leads to fuzzy understanding and unclear thinking. As an engineer working to provide solutions to problems, clear meaning is quite important to me. I understand that totaslly foggy meanings are quite acceptable to a large portion of our population, but we should, as engineers, at least attempt to communicate accurately. We owe it to ourselves, if not to everybody.
Ann, an analod electronic camera is certainly a very common type in machine vision, but it is most certainly not a film camera, but a truely analog device. Some analog cameras do contain converters to the digital format, while others have it happen outside of the camera. But none of them is a film camera.
William, I don't know why the designer used the term in his description, but the term "analog camera" is very common in machine vision. And, as I've said, I've seen it used interchangeably with "film camera" to distinguish this type from digital cameras, usually in a consumer context.
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