Categories
lists & tables tech light

A sorted mess

Imagine you are searching through job postings. You’ve got a list and now you opt to sort by date, or location or other relevant category. Each column can be sorted. Typical options are some kind of logical progression. A job seeker might sort jobs to list the newest ones first.

I recently saw a job listing whose sort routine made sense only in theory. In practice, the result was neither sorted nor logical. However you sorted it, the list was a sorted mess.

Here’s what the date sort looked like:

01-APR-10
02-FEB-10
02-SEP-10
03-APR-10
.
.
.
27-APR-10
27-FEB-10
27-SEP-10
28-APR-10

Here’s a rule to break; don’t sort dates numerically or alphabetically. Who cares about a group of jobs that were posted on the 27th of every month. Not useful. In the context of a job posting, a date must be sorted chronologically.

Categories
language & style

Explicit useless info

Speaking of explicit lyrics, the Stones nail it in Satisfaction when they sing about “…some useless information, Supposed to fire my imagination”.

[audio:https://shorterdocuments.com/audio/satisfaction.mp3]

That got me thinking about explicit and implicit information. Explicit useless info is the .00 cents in the $389,900.00 house listing. It’s the ‘left’ and ‘right’ identifiers for two-subject captions.

Met the tour guides Ms. Barbwood (left) and Ms. Rosenjean.
Met the tour guides Ms. Barb (left) and Ms. Jean.

Explicit helpful info is the last exit before toll, last exit before construction, last gas for next 100 miles/km.

Categories
language & style

Style guidance on numbering

Today’s news reported that Sen. Kennedy’s surgery was successful. His surgeon told the press, “The surgery lasted roughly three and a half hours and is just the first step in Senator Kennedy’s treatment plan. One article reported that the surgery took about 31/2 hours. Notice there’s no space between whole number and fraction.

Another report said he was awake during the 3 1/2-hour procedure.

I suppose another report states the duration as 3.5 hours.

Whether using a fraction or decimal, each way shows how company style guides can and do differ. Clearly, the duration in the reports is the same; one style just writes it clearer.