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Pedants R Us

This week I've had a press release for a PVR/DVD burner described as 'the same size as a sheet of A4 paper' which implies some pretty compact engineering to get it so flat (they mean the same surface area). And another for Traffic TV which 'can be downloaded directly onto most mobile handsets with a colour screen'. Yes, but which ones does it actually run on? The Web site adds 'a colour screen and support Java' and does actually have a list (looks like recent Windows Mobile and Symbian) - the smartphone market must be very confusing to customers. An extremely IT literate friend waved his phone past my nose the other day and was surprised I could tell him it was running Symbian: to him it was 'just a phone'. I don't think phones as application programs are going to take off for the mass market until 'has a colour screen' does mean you can run any application!

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
mdlbear
8th Dec, 2005 16:14 (UTC)
Well, if you really want to get pedantic, A4 and so on really are two-dimensional measures, similar to units like hectares and nanoacres except that they specify form factor as well as area. The Japanese have been making "B4" laptops for years.

It's sloppy terminology, of course, but it's built into the language: "size" is a lot less specific than "length", "area", "volume", "shoe size", "paper size", or whatever.
marypcb
8th Dec, 2005 16:24 (UTC)
yes, but ;-) If you say an A4-size notebook, or a B6-size notebook, you're using it as an adjective. Saying it's 'the same size' implies, to me, rather more of an exact correspondance...
mdlbear
8th Dec, 2005 16:33 (UTC)
Well, "size" is certainly highly ambiguous in that context. And it'll get worse when flat, flexible display technology becomes widely available.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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