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Re: Case insensitivity ad nauseum

From: Chris Garrigues
Subject: Re: Case insensitivity ad nauseum
Date: Thu, 06 Nov 2003 11:04:29 -0600

> From:  address@hidden (Larry Jones)
> Date:  Thu, 6 Nov 2003 11:49:29 -0500 (EST)
> Chris Garrigues writes:
> > 
> > Yes, "Therapist" and "TheRapist" do convey different ideas.  However, in 
> an 
> > actual English sentence, it's pretty damned clear what "I'M GOING TO SEE 
> MY 
> > THERAPIST THIS AFTERNOON." means even without mixed case to clue you in.
> Yes, case is less important when you have additional context like an
> entire sentence.  The problem is that in most computer applications, we
> don't have any contxt to allow us to distinguish one thing from
> another, so case becomes more important.  You may have noticed that I
> misspelled "context" in the previous sentence, or maybe not.  In either
> event, I'm sure you had no trouble understanding what I meant.  Are you
> now going to claim that English isn't spelling sensitive, either?

Careful now or you might end up making my point for me.

The fact is that I didn't even notice that "context" was misspelled and I did 
understand the sentence completely.  Given that human beings care and do 
understand things which are misspelled and which have differing case, it 
should be obvious that from a human interaction perspective, it would be ideal 
if the computer could also understand things which are misspelled and have 
differing case.  Understanding misspelled words is a difficult task and is 
well beyond the scope of this email, but whether or not a computer language 
or operating system or software package is case sensitive or not is a 
design decision and IMHO, from the perspective of usability, Unix (and C) made 
the wrong call.

However, after over 30 years, this is not a decision which is going to be 
changed, so I just grumble about it in email every few years and go on with 
my life.


Chris Garrigues                 http://www.DeepEddy.Com/~cwg/
virCIO                          http://www.virCIO.Com
716 Congress, Suite 200
Austin, TX  78701               +1 512 374 0500

            If you don't apply what you've learned, you haven't 
               learned anything.

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