Now with Less Precision – #JusJoJan

As some of you know, buried under the About menu at the top of this page is a menu option for “Conversion Util.” Several years ago, I wrote a simple US/English-to-Metric conversion utility. I use it all the time for temperature (since we are the only place on the planet that still uses Fahrenheit) but I’ve been annoyed by the fact that the results weren’t rounded. Since I’m retired and it’s cold outside, 17°f (-8°c) to be precise, I decided to fix that. Actually, what I meant to say, is “to be less precise.”

For those of you that don’t know about this utility, you set the US/English values in an entry field, and the utility generates a formatted string you can copy and paste into your blog post. So, enter 17 and get “17°f (-8°c) “

I had previously expanded the utility to offer conversions for other common units you might use in a blog post. Now, they all are (what I consider to be) appropriately precise:

Fahrenheit to Celsius is in whole degrees – I mean who really cares if its 17.2°f – it’s cold.

Again, enter 17 and get “17°f (-8°c) “

Feet and Inches convert to whole Centimeters or Meters with two digits to the right of the decimal place. Example:

I am 6′ 2″(188cm) or, if you prefer, 6′ 2″(1.88m)

I’m not really sure if you need 2 digits of precision. Maybe some of you metric users can let me know what makes more sense. Please don’t say “make it adjustable” ‘cuz, no.

Distance / Speed converts from whole miles / miles per hour to whole kilometers.

It’s 471 mi (758 km) from Hartford, CT to Pittsburgh, PA

It’s really 471.1 mi, but who cares?

Whole pounds convert to Kilograms with one digit to the right of the decimal place.

I weigh 190 lb (86.2 kg)

The rounded results are more appropriate at lower values, but I don’t think it’s painful to see that I weigh 190 lb (86.2 kg). At this time there is no conversion to Stones (190 lb = 13.6 stone), but I’ll add it if you like.


I am planning to build the Metric to US/English version of this utility. I am also open to suggestions for other utilities that might seem useful for blogging purposes. Let me know in the comments. The utility page is located on my Blogger site, because WordPress does not allow JavaScript in posts. I have changed the comment process over there to allow comments from anyone, but all comments are moderated. So, you don’t need a Blogger account, but you have to wait for me to approve. That’s to keep the scraggly characters away.


This update is part of Linda G. Hill’s January blog prompt series, Just Jot January. Scraggly is today’s prompt, provided by Cheryl at The Bag Lady.

This is what the utility looks like.

53 thoughts on “Now with Less Precision – #JusJoJan

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    1. Thanks for that. Do you round them off or go with 13.6 – I kind of like weighing 13.6 something. Do you only use stones for peoples’ weights? If you were buying a 40 lb bag of sand would you go with 18kg?

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        1. Of course you do ;-)

          Now, that’s the kind of programming challenge I can get interested in. It looks like ‘%’ is the Modulo operator. Thanks for giving me something to think about.

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  1. Sometimes the comments are just as informative as the blog. Knots – yes the rest of the world has gone metric – except for those measures that we have not quite gotten around to converting and the users of said conversions are not complaining in the slightest. While you are at it is there a metric conversion for time ? Tell Cheryl to put in an extra order of Corona and Blue Moon while we sort that out…

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  2. I am the generation that grew up with imperial and switched to metric in my late teens. So I go back and forth. Height – imperial, cars – metric, temperature – both. Weight – imperial. Confused – yep.

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    1. Jeeze-Louise, Pam! I know David (top comment) was still buying gas in imperial gallons when I first met him. Hopefully those days are gone. We started to convert here, but that movement died. Except for alcohol. I think they discovered they could give us a little less of the good stuff if they converted.

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    1. You’re welcome John. Personally, I think Fahrenheit is more interesting. The additional distance between freezing and boiling allows for finer readings without getting into tenths of degrees. Still, we are the only country that use it :(

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  3. LOL… it’s still too close to math for me. Nicely done though Dan, yes indeed.
    But that’s just way too cold, no matter how you measure it. The sky here has been so white with clouds today that I thought it might snow. But it’s too warm for snow. We got some much needed rain though. Hugs!

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    1. Well, it is math, in its most enjoyable form, Teagan. Turned into algorithms and tucked in behind a working webpage. It was warm enough in the sun today to sit outside for about half an hour with Maddie. I’m glad you got some rain.

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  4. I love to see what computer guys come up with in their spare time – some friends of mine wrote a random corporate jargon generator which, last I looked was still online. It was hysterical. Conversion to stones would be fun… Or maybe, to hands. Wasn’t that the original measurement for at least horses?

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    1. Stones should be easy, and they way David says they work, it’s the same bit of logic I need to get metric length back to feet and inches. This is fun stuff – no deadlines, no committee and no accountants.

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  5. I need this converter! I just convert Celcius to Fahrenheit the easy way which isn’t precise, but close enough. I multiply the Celcius temp by two and add 32 to get to what I understand in Fahrenheit. It works! I knew how to dress while in London recently.

    I needed one for time too so I took a screenshot of a time table for Military and standard time so I wouldn’t miss a bus or train while over there. That worked out well for me too.

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  6. I expected no less from you Dan. You know, this would have been so handy for me when we lived in Costa Rica. Recipes on their boxes and oven temperatures were always metric and I had to go to the internet for the conversions. I love this!

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    1. Thanks Cheryl. I do need to build the Metric-English version of this. It’s easy enough to find the conversions online, but I got tired of looking up the degree symbol and formatting the string. That’s why I decided to write this.

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  7. You will notice I’m a day late to this conversation, and it was intentional. I opened this yesterday without coffee in hand and had to set is aside. This morning, with coffee at the ready, it makes perfect sense, and thank you for sharing. :-) It’s always good to keep all the brain cells firing. :-)

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  8. Nice! What a great ad, now with less precision! I LOL’d!
    I think weight is hard. Five pounds of potatoes is a side, but five pounds of sugar lasts a long time… Also, on several occasions I noticed that 20 lbs of Moo wasn’t as heavy as 5 pounds of flour? I prefer people are measured by their finer, less weighty attributes.
    Gray and 40 and rainy is one thing, gray and 40 and rainy and windy is a whole other thing. Isn’t 85 hotter in Georgia than Indiana? Isn’t 55 colder inside?
    Numbers, Man.

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