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March 03, 2006


Chris McEvoy

Great to hear from you Ron. I always point people to your summary of the 7+-2 misapplication.

Here is another part of the saga relating to motel signs:

From: Mike Halpern
To: George Miller
Subject: citation for your disclaimer

Dear Professor Miller,

The director of the technical writing group which I serve as editor has issued
an edict that lists and procedures in our printed and screen-displayed
documentation should not exceed seven, or maybe nine at the most, items. This is
of course a silly rule, whatever its origin, but I think that its source in this
case is a fading memory of a third-hand report of a bad reading of your classic
1956 paper.

Of course you are in no way responsible for the misreadings of your paper, and
the silly things done in its name, but I hope you can help my organization, at
least, climb back out of the pit it has dug for itself, using your paper as its
shovel. I have seen somewhere a quotation from you, or a paraphrase of your
words, in which you deplore the strange conclusions that some have drawn from
your paper, and express your dismay over all the half-baked rules that people
have promulgated, citing it as their authority.

In my attempt to get our director to rescind his bad rule, I would like to be
able to quote your very words against him; would you tell me where I might find
such words? Or, if what you've said in the past is not on record, could I induce
you to say now that nothing in your paper should be taken as warrant for asking
Moses to discard at least one, and preferably three, of the Commandments?

With my thanks,
Mark Halpern


Ron Zeno

Thanks for the link. Yes, it's nice that they changed that. I hope they've updated much more as well.

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