Q: I have an Atari 2600 game console and Bullfighter appears to be hanging up when I run it at the same time Space Invaders is loaded. What versions of Windows or other operating systems do you need to run this fine piece of software?
A: Bullfighter is happiest in Windows XP and Office 2002 or 2003. It really works well. Sometimes it works in Windows XP and Office 2000, but sometimes it doesn't. Occasionally it doesn't work, usually, in Windows 2000 and Office 2000, during high tides and depending on the phases of the moon. Far be it from us to suggest you upgrade to Office 2003, but we recommend it.
Q: What kind of support is available for Bullfighter? After all, I did download it.
A: Well, we're generally nice people, but Bullfighter was free. So, you can drop us an email with questions and we'll try to respond in a timely way. But, if it's 2AM on a Saturday and you have a sudden question about whether the bull dictionary can be adapted to Swahili, we might be less timely than in other situations. If it's an emergency, like you need to run your wedding e-invitations through Bullfighter and you're actually in Las Vegas with Elvis already hired to perform the ceremony, by all means mark your email 'urgent'.
Q: How can I improve my score?
A: The Bull Composite includes the Bull Index and the Flesch Reading Ease indices. The Bull Index counts the frequency and severity of jargon, while Flesch focuses on sentence length and syllable count. If you want to clean up your score quickly, look for the 'High' penalty bull terms when you run Bullfighter. Nasty words like "leverage" hurt your score far more than innocuous but overused words like "global." Long sentences can also kill your score. Readers can't follow comma-spliced lists of more than a few items anyway, so a bulleted list can help. If every word has six syllables, you might try to find shorter words. Remember that Flesch is graded "on a curve," so that a score of 60 or better is very respectable.
Q: My art teacher in school uses a Macintosh. Can he run Bullfighter?
A: No. We do not currently support Macintosh, PlayStation or Xbox.
Q: I would like to clean out my custom dictionary. How can I do this?
A: The easiest way is to uninstall Bullfighter and then reinstall it. You will not lose any data other than your custom dictionary entries.
Q: Is there any science behind Bullfighter, or did someone just come with this idea at a bar somewhere? How can I learn more?
A: Yes. The Flesch Reading Ease score is one of the accepted standards for measuring the demands placed on a reader, and the late Dr. Rudolf Flesch is still regarded as an important figure in the field of readability. His book, "How to Write, Speak and Think More Effectively" (Signet, 1960), is an excellent survey of his work. If you want to be a great communicator, we recommend an appointment with Dr. Flesch. Don't bother checking, your medical benefits don't cover visits with deceased linguists.
Q: So you didn't use any research later than 1960 for this?
A: Right. Remember, we can stop answering FAQs anytime we want to.
Q: When I use Bullfighter to 'Add Bull Words,' what happens to these?
A: If you click the 'Save' button, the word and comments you entered are saved to your custom dictionary only.
Q: How reliable is Bullfighter?
A: We tested Bullfighter in Windows 2000 and XP environments using Office 2000 and XP. An external vendor, VeriTest, also tested our application. We recommend that you install Bullfighter only in these environments. While there is no perfect software, we're confident you won't find a better consulting jargon elimination application anywhere at this price.
Q: How often should I use Bullfighter?
A: Don't let Bullfighter make you paranoid. It will anyway, but don't lose sleep over it. If you lose sleep, at least you'll have more time to work on your documents. We recommend running the Bull Index once after your first draft. Then you can run Bullfighter to clean up some of the offending terms. Run Bull Index again before calling it 'final.' No piece of software can tell you how to write, but our goal was to make everyone aware of words that are symptomatic of bull. Our goal was to provide you with an online coach. Our goal was to make you paranoid, in other words.
Q: I frequent pubs in the UK and frequently get requests for Bullfighter. Is this another Yank software tool that doesn't recognize the Queen's English jargon?
A: We've included British spellings of common bull terms. However, we may have missed a few terms, just as you may have missed a few pubs. Be sure to send us British bull terms we've missed.