re-edited by author: no this is not 2 questions. This is one question about code review questions containing two separate points. Please do not edit my question.
For naming variables, the two sides are regarding using articles (a, an, the) in the variable name (e.g. theBook vs. book -or- parseTheString vs. parseString).
For hard-coding strings, the three sides are whether to put all strings into constants (public static final) in a separate file (class or interface), put them all in the same file (private static final), or don't use constants for strings at all. (e.g. new Button("Click Me") vs. new Button(BUTTON_LABEL_CLICK)). We also discuss the Hungarian notation issue quite a bit but I've seen that discussed here in other questions.
For a very long time it has been the defacto standard to not use articles in variable names (adds visual clutter without adding value) and to not have hard-coded strings sprinkled through the source code (a potential maintenance nightmare and very poor for internationalization). Now we are starting to see violations of these and the developers seem truly surprised when someone marks these as defects or at least needing attention. The manager has said they don't care one way or the other and these points are not in our company coding standards.