by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2006/08/13 03:11 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2006/08/13/697037.aspx
I got lots of feedback from the post Our highly internationalized OS uses DPI, aka Dots Per In-.... um, never mind!, and one reminder from a friend about an old issue related to the Measurement System in Regional and Language Options:
The issue has to do with the choices -- U.S. or Metric, or if you deal with it via GetLocaleInfo/SetLocaleInfo, the LOCALE_IMEASURE, which is documented as follows:
System of measurement. The maximum number of characters allowed for this string is two, including a terminating null character. This value is 0 if the metric system (Systéme International d'Units, or S.I.) is used, and 1 if the U.S. system is used.
As I mentioned in that DPI post, there are only three countries that have apparently not embraced the metric system: the US, Liberia, and Myanmar. But Microsoft can't sell Windows in Myanmar for Wassenaar Arrangement reasons, so I suppose the string U.S. could in theory be replaced with U.S./Liberia, though this hardly seems like a "must do immediately" type of operation....
Many folks around here have suggested that this should be called the Imperial or perhaps the English measurement system, though since the US is really not technically an empire and England does not use the English system, it seems like such a change is for many customers an invitation to confusion, population many.
The .NET Framework gets around most of this with its RegionInfo.IsMetric property:
true if the country/region uses the metric system for measurements; otherwise, false.
Though of course since it is only available in the RegionInfo class and not via the CultureInfo or NumberFormatInfo classes, it is not the most convenient setting in the world to use.
And if you consider ChrisJ's comment to the DPI post:
The UK, although technically metric, a large number of the population still uses the imperial system by default, although this is changing as the population moves. I'm 30 and I still think of distances in feet and inches. I meausre my furniture in feet and do the conversion to mm later when I remember Ikea doesn't actually do measurements in feet... :-)
On top of that, we measure distances twixt town in miles, fuel economy is miles per gallon even though we buy petrol by the litre, we buy beer (and often milk) in pints (the latter being rather bizarre: due to EU regulations, the metric value has to have as much prominence, if not more so on the packaging, so often you'll be buying 568ml of milk). We get whether forecasts that will give us both degrees C and F, etc, but wind speeds are miles-per-hour.
If there is going to be a measurement system option in Vista, it really does need a separate UK setting or the ability to customise it fully :-)
Clearly the problem is that the one setting by itself really does not cover everything anyway. Though even in the Imperial system the differences between US vs. UK measurements make a single setting or even collection of settings somewhat problematic.
(good info on the Imperial system can be found here)
In the end, it is not a terribly useful setting. It is probably not worth changing since even if it were made into something both intuitive and accurate, its overall lack of usefulness is hard to get past....
This post brought to you by ဠ (U+1020, a.k.a. MYANMAR LETTER LLA)
# Dean Harding on 13 Aug 2006 4:38 AM:
# ester on 13 Aug 2006 6:08 AM:
# Christoph Päper on 13 Aug 2006 9:29 AM:
# Michael S. Kaplan on 13 Aug 2006 9:59 AM:
# Michael S. Kaplan on 13 Aug 2006 10:04 AM:
# Richard on 16 Aug 2006 2:56 AM:
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