Defining Terms Used in Marketing - New High-Tech Telescopes

Jack Kramer

With the advent of CCDs and the new computer-controlled telescope drives, this may be your first brush with the arcane world of really high-tech. For our members who may be considering some of the advanced products now on the market, we are providing an interpretation of a few terms that you've no doubt seen widely used in advertisements.

ALL NEW The power supply, connectors, and software are not compatible with previous versions. Even the screw threads are different.
ADVANCED DESIGN Salespeople don't understand it.
BREAKTHROUGH It nearly worked on the first try.
DESIGN SIMPLICITY It was developed on a shoestring budget.
EXCLUSIVE We're the only ones who have the directions telling how to use it.
FIELD TESTED The manufacturer has no way to test it.
FOOLPROOF OPERATION It's unrepairable, short of sending it back to the factory (which can't fix it either).
FUTURISTIC It only runs with the help of a next-generation computer, which isn't available yet.
HIGH ACCURACY The screw threads match the threads of the holes they're supposed to mate with.
IT'S HERE AT LAST We've released a 26-week project in 48 weeks.
MAINTENANCE FREE see Foolproof Operation.
MEETS OR EXCEEDS OPTICAL STANDARDS We haven't the foggiest idea about the total wavefront accuracy.
NEW It comes in a different color than the first version.
PERFORMANCE PROVEN It worked through beta test.
QUALITY STANDARDS It works most of the time.
REVOLUTIONARY Everything that's supposed to go round and round actually goes round and round.
SATISFACTION GUARANTEED We'll send you another manual if this one fails to work.
STOCK ITEM We shipped it once before and we can do it again, probably.
UNMATCHED No one else wants to copy our design.
UNPRECEDENTED PERFORMANCE May mean two different things:
  1. Actually worked the first time right out of the box.
  2. Nothing before ever ran so erratically.
YEARS OF DEVELOPMENT We finally got one to work.

Published in the May 1993 issue of the NightTimes