Mea Culpa — The Forgotten Millisecond

It Seems that I Have a Millisecond Blind Spot

I know that a millisecond lasts one-thousandth of a second. However, it seems I have a proclivity for calling a millisecond a microsecond. I have no excuse. As a physics major, I know the difference. Somehow my brain tends to use “microsecond” in place of “millisecond.”

RobotResponsibilityA reader recently brought to my attention that I incorrectly placed “microsecond” in one of my books when referring to the time delay used in the AutoHotkey Sleep command. Not only did I make the error in that book, but in a couple more of the earlier books and other timing commands. I have no excuse. The online documentation has it perfect.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been notified of the problem. In fact, I had deluded myself into thinking I had already corrected the error in my books. (It must have slipped my mind or become trapped in my blindspot.) I have since gone back and fixed the problem in the earlier books. How could this go on for so long?

The Forgotten “Milli”-second

Let’s face it! The prefix “milli-” doesn’t get much respect these days. Ever since the introduction of the microprocessor, we stopped caring about anything bigger. Nobody uses “milli” in advertising when “micro” or even “nano” adds more emphasis. In my books, even though I knew I was talking about thousandths of a second, I kept calling it a microsecond (millionth of a second).

We might measure a blink of an eye in milliseconds (300-400ms). It would be ridiculous to say a blink takes 300,000 to 400,000 microseconds. Yet, when it comes to computers, I’m always ready to talk in terms of a millionth of a second.

Fortunately, my examples and the calculations in the books work out fine, so very few people would actually find themselves misled. It still seems like a bonehead mistake to make.

I updated the problem books (A Beginner’s Guide, Digging DeeperAutoHotkey Applications, and AutoHotkey Tricks) with the correction. If you purchased your copy at and have no downloads remaining, please submit the following form for increased downloads:

Sorry about the confusion,



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