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These details can often shed light into what happened ( or was supposed to happen ), what tools were being used, etc. While they might be useless for the average reader, there are many on HN, myself included, who will be dissecting the update to learn more about how Windows update works

That's fine, but it's not useful to use obtuse terminology. Not once have I heard anyone use the term base-52 before today. I understood the term, but it's not common (because base-52 encoding is not common). It's so not common that it doesn't merit a page on Wikipedia, nor a reference from the page for the number 52, nor even a reference from the page for base-64. It's obtuse.

It's also so specific as to be inaccurate. These strings could be interpreted as "base-52", but also as base-64 or any other base greater than 52. Calling them "encoded" also implies a belief about how these were derived that isn't justified. "Encoded" means that there is some original source that can be recreated by decoding. It's possible that these were actually created by generating random numbers and then encoding that data in base-52. I think that's pretty unlikely, though.

So no, I don't think this sheds any light or additional detail. It's inaccurate and misleading and if we're so specific we're making up terminology, then we should also be specific enough to say things like "assumed pseudorandom" rather than "random" when we don't know. Otherwise we're just being obtuse.

I have to agree --- apart from anything else, 'base-52' doesn't make it clear that the encoding alphabet is, in fact, made up of letters. It'd be just as valid to use 0-9, A-Z and a-p.

'base-64' is at least a defined term with a defined alphabet.

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