Sunday, November 2, 2008

How to See and Say "Azure"

Last week, Microsoft unveiled the name of it's cloud computing platform, Windows Azure. Is this a good name or a bad name? What does it mean, how do you say it, and why did Microsoft choose it?

Azure, most people know, means blue. But which blue? Wikipedia somewhat unhelpfully first tells us the precise hue that azure is, then does an about face and admits it can be a synonym for blue in general, often sky blue or United Nations Blue.

"Azure is a blue color on the HSV color wheel at 210 degrees. Azure is the hue that is halfway between blue and cyan. Its complementary color is orange.

Azure is a near synonym for the color blue. Commonly it refers to a bright blue, resembling the sky on a bright, clear day.


In some color systems, azure is defined more specifically. In the X11 color system which became a standard for early Web colors, azure is a pale blue color. "United Nations blue", as it's called by the United Nations, is the light blue color of the Flag of the United Nations and of the helmets worn by the United Nations peacekeeping forces.

And then there's the matter of how to pronounce Azure. Is it "az'URE" (rhymes with "bonJOUR"), or "AZ'ure" (rhymes with... nothing). I fully expected when I checked to find both pronunciations listed, but it turns out only the latter pronunciation (emphasis on first syllable) is correct. So it's AZ'ure (āzh'ər). It may well have a different pronunciation in some other languages.

Hue and pronunciation aside, Windows Azure is an exciting cloud computing platform. At least, that's how I see it. And say it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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