RE: Hexadecimal in many scripts (ISO 14755)

From: Alain LaBont\i\ (
Date: Mon Jun 07 1999 - 21:30:11 EDT

A 17:50 99-06-07 -0700, Addison Phillips a écrit :
>But we're talking about ease of entry here and I'm just blowing some
>ideas around. Hex makes more sense for every OTHER application. However,
>there are no hex keypads and hex touch typing (especially if we expect
>to chord it with AltGr or Ctrl) is going to be tough.

[Alain] In ISO/IEC 14755 we talk to users about "catalog numbers" instead
of "hex numbers" because many balloters did not understnad what hexadecimal
was about and instead of explaining rather elementary mathematics who would
have made people hostile, we just changed some words... If, for casual
users, you indeed talk about "catalog number" for the id of a character,
all of a sudden you gain a much greater audience... A lot of people in the
world are used to order with catalog numbers going much beyond hexadecimal
signs... with dashes, points, letters, number signs, underscores, at signs
and so on...

Vulgarization is just a matter of presentation. In general specialized
people use cryptic terms (which hide a deeper system of knowledge) to talk
about rather simple things. The word "hexadecimal" hides the mathematical
concept of base 16 (itself hiding base 2), and beyond or below base 10, you
lose most people who would be totally puzzled if you described the Latin
alphabet as being digits of a numbering system in base 26...
(hexaduodecimal)... and yet, as Molière's character Mr. Jourdain, 2 to 3
billion people on earth use hexaduodecimal (or whatever, depending on the
addition of letters for a specific variant of the Latin alphabet) every day
without knowing it. (:

Alain LaBonté

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