October 15, 2011

Unit Expression, "kB"

Have you ever tried the Email CSV Data function? It's a new function and it's on the General Settings & Tools menu. When you create a csv file with this function, you will see a message like the one below.

During the design process, I saw this message and felt that there was something funny about the unit expression "kB". I thought it should be "KB" or "kb". So I asked one of our engineers who wrote that message.

His answer was that it should be "kB" according to "SI". He explained that SI stands for "Systeme International d'unites"(in English, "International System of Units"), and it's the world's most widely used system of measurement.

According to SI, the prefix for 1,000 is "k" and "K" is for Kelvin. In the same manner, "b" stands for bit and "B" is for byte. Therefore, "kilobytes" should be written "kB".

I understood what he said but he continued his explanation and asked me, "if most of the users would think that "kB" looks funny and should be "KB", should we go with "KB"?"

I replied that we should go with "kB" because he really wanted to be accurate about it and I liked it.

Though you might think that it's a tiny thing and it wouldn't really matter, I take this seriously and I am personally proud of it. Because I believe that this way of thinking makes the quality of application a lot better.

By the way, the engineer I talked about graduated school and joined us this Spring. Though he is fresh out of school, he already works like an experienced engineer. We have many engineers like him in our company, and I consider myself very lucky to work with them.

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