When Different Understandings Cause Confusion

It’s easy for miscommunication and different understandings to cause quite a lot of confusion. I experienced that this morning.

A Non-technical Example

When I go to Portland, I generally don’t bother driving in town. They have this great public transportation system that is less expensive than paying for parking, without the hassle of traffic and driving. For one price, you can take light rail, bus or trolley, pretty much anywhere. I thought it was all the “Max” system.

To get to my meeting today, I looked up how to get from the hotel to Washington Park. Then I asked the hotel desk clerk where the Max station is. She said it’s 12 miles by car, but my phone said .1 mile. Well, it turns out that Max is just the rail part of the system and what I wanted was the bus stop.

A Technology Example

Sometimes, the incorrect use of words leads to a misunderstanding. For example, what is a “database”? For most people the database is the tool they use to see what’s inside the database. But, the data is stored in the database whether you can see the data or not.

I found out that Amazon’s AWS system doesn’t have a tool to view the data that’s stored in databases on their system. You can used whatever tool you want, but you have to provide that tool, yourself. And, you have to hook your tool up to the AWS database.

An Academic Discipline Example

In high school Geometry, we learned about endpoints. In the computer world, an endpoint has a different meaning. In fact, a computer “node” is more visually similar to a geometric node.

The people who will tell you the confusions on your website are your friends!

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