Re: terminology

From: Tex Texin (
Date: Fri May 03 2002 - 02:06:47 EDT

Doug, your analysis of using the term sentinel agrees with my

Sentinel is not a Bostonian term either (and I am not a native
Bostonian. I can usually put "r"s in where they belong!) But from the
discussion (that you missed) the software usage of sentinel is not
unilaterally known. Maybe it depends on the platforms that you are used
to, as opposed to the region you are from. It seemed several people were
aware of it and several others had not seen the usage.

Now I have to return to watching Lor and Odah and eating my chowdah!

Doug Ewell wrote:
> This discussion may have started in unicoRe, but it's dropped into
> unicoDe now, so you guys are stuck hearing from me again.
> Michael Everson <> wrote:
> > At 15:15 -0400 2002-05-02, Tex Texin wrote:
> >> Sentinel does have a meaning in software, an extension of "guard"
> >> to mean a delimiting value.
> I learned the computer-related meaning of "sentinel" the same way as
> everyone else who began programming on microcomputer BASICs in the early
> '80s. In the following classic BASIC line:
> 100 DATA 20, 18, 16, 24, -1
> the value -1 is a sentinel, a recognizably invalid data item that
> signifies the end of valid data items. The commas that separate the
> values are delimiters.
> (But, of course, one could always argue that the commas are recognizably
> not digits and, as such, signify to the interpreter the end of the
> numeric data item. So maybe on a lower level, the commas are sentinels
> too. But I wouldn't have called them that.)
> > And in the world of internationalization this stuff has to be
> > translated. It has to make sense. Quick-and-dirty Californian
> > "definitions" cause problems for other people in the world because
> > the images or idioms may not be universal. Sentinal does not seem
> > to me to be equivalent to "literal". "Delimiter" seems better.
> Hey, hey, hey. Tex is a Bostonian. We Californians do play fast and
> loose with language sometimes, but we had nothing to do with this.
> -Doug Ewell
> Fullerton, California

Tex Texin                    Director, International Business    the Progress Company
Tel: +1-781-280-4271
"The world writes in my database!" Progress Exchange 2002
Globalization Empowerment for Progress users
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