Swet Columns

“Bill Me for Everything” Change

by Doreen Simmons

When one party to an old relationship of trust suddenly wants to put it entirely on a businesslike footing, what’s really afoot? Well-balanced Aunt Eva, who likes a bit of friendly give-and-take herself, advises treading warily on this one.

Dear Aunt Eva,

I have a niggling little problem and would welcome a... more

Translation Software Problems

by Doreen Simmons

Open-minded Aunt Eva is no Luddite, but it has been increasingly coming to her attention that there is an awesome potential for error in the interface between technology and the human beings who are trying to use it. Here, she takes a realistic look at some of the pitfalls in relying too heavily on software that... more

Going on Record as Being Right

by Doreen Simmons

Ruminative Aunt Eva has recently been pondering the potential ethical gulf between knowing that you are right and going on record as saying so.

Dear Aunt Eva,

I am beginning to think that I was recently dealt a card from the bottom of the pack by a professor I know. He showed me three English sentences, all... more

Beginning as We Mean to Go On

by Doreen Simmons

Somnolent Aunt Eva arouses herself to ruminate on a problem of status, real and apparent. How can we avoid projecting the wrong image, especially when even our own preconceptions are working against us?

Dear Aunt Eva,

(Or should that be “Ms Hartupp”? You see, I’ve suddenly become sensitive about handles.) But... more

The Finagle Factor

by Doreen Simmons

This time our lovable old tabby takes a rather jaundiced look at the great "Finagle Factor" of Japan: that which, added to any equation, makes it come out in the speaker's favor. In other words, how do we cope with people who are always right?

Dear Aunt Eva,

I am a professional sub-editor, and as a sort of... more

Shortcomings of Applicants

by Doreen Simmons

Chivalrous Aunt Eva is usually asked to take up cudgels on behalf of the browbeaten employee against an arrogant or unappreciative client. This time, however, she takes a sympathetic but practical look from the other side, at the problems encountered by people who for the first time in their lives are confronted with... more