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One Time Use of Algebra

As a former Copy Editor for the local Bellingham Herald, Adrian Rogers would occasionally write an informal column.

Her columns always ended with these words: "Although she failed the computer programming section of math class, Adrian Rogers did once use algebra in real life. Ask her to tell you about it...."

So, I sent Adrian an email and asked her to "tell me about it."

Her reply: "It was like this: I'm a copy editor, which means I design and lay out pages at The Herald. We get some of our graphics from wire services, such as the Associated Press and Gannett News Service. One day, preparing to use one such graphic, I sought information from the wire service about the graphic's size. Much to my surprise, the wire service listed the size in pixels! That's not helpful! So I had to do that kind of algebra problem in which one knows the height and width of something in some weird obscure units like pixels, and the desired height in a normal unit, such as inches, and one must figure out the width in the desired unit. Boy, was I glad I went to the eighth grade!"

Is this actually using algebra or is it using the idea of proportions. Does it become algebra (especially in her eyes) if she perhaps used the variable w for width?

More so, isn't it sad that Adrian only remembers one time when she used algebra...and even admits it? But then, do you actually recognize the times that you used algebra?