Editorial license. (changes made to Compute magazine) (Editorial)
by Clifton Karnes
Last month, I talked about some of the changes taking place here at COMPUTE. The biggest change, of course, is that OMNI has moved to Greensboro. We at COMPUTE were looking forward to working closer with OMNI, and we're already seeing the first fruits of our new relationship.
As you probably know, OMNI is a top science magazine. The staff are experts at reporting scientific information, and they're crusaders for a scientific approach to measurement. In just one month, they've convinced us to adopt the metric system as our standard. So, beginning with the May 1992 issue, COMPUTE will be 100-percent metric.
What does this mean for you? Well, in some areas there will be no change, because we're using metric measures already. For example, familiar quantities such as ms (millisecond, or one-thousandth of a second), K (kilobyte, or 1024 bytes), MB (megabyte, or 1024K), and MHz (megahertz, or 1 million hertz) are metric already, so they'll stay the same.
The first change you'll notice with the metric shift is the way we express the sizes of floppy disks. What used to be called 3 1/2- and 5 1/4-inch disks will now be 8.89-cm and 13.335-cm, respectively. Soon the old 8.89-cm disk will be as familiar as the oldfashioned inch one.
Just as the metric system's centimeter is an improvement over the inch, the world-wide committee on metric standards, Metric International for Systems, Engineering, Relations, and Yields, or MISERY for short, has recently adopted improved metric equivalents for common computer measurements.
The first measure to fall under MISERY's ax was the popular pixel, the smallest addressable dot on a computer screen, MISERY isn't the first to propose a pixelary alternative. Recently, Microsoft started using TWIP, a device-independent measure, for screen size (nobody knows what TWIP stands for). MISERY suggests TWIT, which does stand for something: Tall and Wide but Independent of TWIPs. One TWIT is worth .76459 pixels, so an 800 x 600 display is, using that metric equivalent, 611.672 x 458.754. Much more accurate, and clearly better.
In the same spirit that gave us the TWIT, MISERY has proposed a new metric measure for money, replacing our U.S. dollar with an international currency called Monetary Organization for Original Legal Access, or MOOLA, for short. One dollar is worth 3.141592654, or pi, MOOLAS. So a software product with a price of $39.95 will cost 125.5066265 MOOLAs.
With large computer systems, the MOOLA measurement gets really exciting. For example, a new 486 with all the trimmings sells for $2,999.95. That's an impressive 9,424.620881 MOOLAs. Now that's a number worthy of such a machine!
The good metric stuff doesn't end there. Software version numbers are begin improved by the adoption of MISERY's Bipartisan Universal Gradient, or BUG, for short. A BUG is a simple measure. To get it, you multiply a constant--.00321--by the current version number. For example, DOS 5.0 is now DOS .01605 BUGs. With this ingenious system, most products will never get their BUGs to version 1.0.
Last, but certainly not least, we've proposed our own metric standard for numbering magazine issues. MISERY has responded favorably to this and plans to adopt it in its next MISERY version .00963 BUGs. Here's how it works.
The numbering system multiplies the year by .0001 and then multiplies that product by the number of the month. So the April 1992 issue you hold in your hands is in reality issue .7968 ((.0001 x 1992) x 4).
Going along with the new numbering system, there will be 10.3904 issues in 1992, but 10.3916 issues in 1993. We haven't given a name to this system yet. Any ideas?
That's it. Beginning in May, you'll see the drab software references in the magazine replaced with something like this: MISERY-DOS, version .98342 BUGs, 611.672 x 458.754 TWITs supported, available on 8.89- and 13.335-cm disks, for 125.5066265 MOOLAs.
It's true that you'll need a computer to calculate and recaculate all these metric equivalents, but if you love computers the way we think you do, you'll find the work a joy. Oh, yeah--April Fools'.